The Newton County Food Basket Brigade has kicked off its annual drive. Goal this year is 90,000 pounds of food for 800 needy families.
With a goal of 90,000 pounds of food, Tuesday marked the official kickoff of the 2007 Newton County Food Basket Brigade.
Several major donations, including a check for $2,700 from Clark Funeral Homes’ Tree of Memories program, the donation of 500 frozen turkeys from Dwyer Enterprises, Moark Productions’ donation of a minimum of a dozen eggs to each certified family and a donation from an area company who asked to remain anonymous, ensure a supply of meat products for each certified family.
This is the 11th year Clark Funeral Homes has donated through the Tree of Memories program, but the funeral home has provided transportation support to the brigade since its beginning in 1988.
Dwyer Enterprises of Neosho President Kenneth Dwyer has made the same donation to the brigade for more than 15 years, and Moark last year donated 800 dozen eggs to the cause.
“(The food) will be distributed to what we anticipate will be an estimated 800 families across Newton County who will seek and qualify for assistance from the Food Basket Brigade this year,” said Dave Winegardner, publicity chairman for the food drive. “I was just informed that the Crowder College Technical Educational Center, which is made up of high school students of Neosho High School, East Newton High School, Seneca and McDonald High School, and the SKILLS USA program, delivered to KQYS a huge truckload of donations…they (KQYS) stopped counting at 971 items.”
Winegardner said with the donations of food thus far, they are well over 10,000 pounds of food.
The basket brigade, now in its 20th year of collecting food for distribution at Christmas to needy families and individuals in Newton County. Last year, the drive distributed food to 776 families.
“It has always been our goal to ensure that nobody goes hungry at Christmas and this year, that means we will again have to have enough food to feed an estimated 800 to 850 families,” said Lewis Cole, brigade co-chairman.
Donations of non-perishable food and money to buy perishable items, are being accepted at the KQYS-AM studios at 216 W. Spring St, Neosho. Various groups and organizations across Newton County are also collecting food. Large cardboard collection boxes, donated by Crowder Industries, are being distributed to many area businesses and industries.
According to a press release, “any cash left over at the end of the drive will be given to the Neosho Help Center to purchase food for the needy clients in 2008.”
A community-wide, door-to-door drive to collect both food and money is scheduled for Dec. 8. Jacque Faulkner, the brigade’s transportation coordinator, asked any individual and groups who would like to collect food on Dec. 8 to contact her at 451-8690 or 451-7852.
“We have 25 areas (for collecting) that has a different volunteer group to pick up the food,” Faulkner said. “We will be in town (Neosho) and basically a two-mile fringe outside the city limits. We will take anyone who is willing to help us.”
“We could not do it without the people of the county, it’s been very supportive in the past and we are very appreciative,” Cole said.
Applications for assistance are being accepted Tuesday through Thursday, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. until Dec. 6 at the Neosho Help Center, 214 E. Main St. Proof of residence in Newton County and number of persons living in the home will be required.
Previous year’s certifications are not carried forward to the current year.
The donation deadline is Dec. 13, with the food distribution being held on Saturday, Dec. 15, at the Neosho National Guard Armory.
Since its beginning in 1988, the basket brigade has collected more than 1.5 million pounds of food for Christmas baskets.
Neosho Daily News