Businesses donate over 17,000 food items
An assembly line formed outside of the Community Action Region VI food pantry in Jamestown on Tuesday morning, unloading over 7,000 items. The donations were part of more than 17,000 items raised by six local businesses and one organization in a ...
An assembly line formed outside of the Community Action Region VI food pantry in Jamestown on Tuesday morning, unloading over 7,000 items. The donations were part of more than 17,000 items raised by six local businesses and one organization in a friendly competition during the past two weeks.
There were 7,915 items delivered to the Community Action food pantry and 9,918 items to the Salvation Army food pantry on Tuesday raised by the food drive competition, said Becky Kercher, human resource generalist for Cavendish Farms.
Newman Signs donated 2,924 items, Cargill donated 1,804 items, Cavendish Farms donated 4,439 items, RealTruck.com donated 1,107 items, UTC donated 4,136 items, JRMC donated 2,568 items, and Agri-Cover donated 855 items.
The food drive has taken place since 2011, beginning with only Cavendish Farms, Cargill and UTC Aerospace Systems participating the first year, Kercher said.
The food drive has grown every year, with six businesses and Jamestown Regional Medical Center competing for the holiday food drive trophy this year. Newman Signs won the trophy back from Cavendish Farms by raising 2,924 items, said Chris Rathjen, administrative manager for Newman Signs. The winner was determined by the average number of items donated per employee, not by total number.
“It’s a fun little competition,” Rathjen said. “Our employees are excited about it, and it helps with the ultimate goal to help the community.”
UTC Aerospace Systems, Newman Signs and Agri-Cover donations went to the Community Action food pantry, and RealTruck.com, Cavendish Farms, Cargill and JRMC donations went to the Salvation Army food pantry, said Sarah Oberlander, Community Action food pantry coordinator.
Feeding a community
This is the second year Community Action has received donations from the drive, Oberlander said. Organizers of the drive began splitting donations between Community Action and Salvation Army food pantries last year once enough businesses started participating, Oberlander said.
“It’s very overwhelming and very much needed,” Oberlander said. “This will last us all year.”
Summer is the busiest season at the Community Action food pantry, but the need for food is monthly, Oberlander said. She said the pantry gives out about 160 food baskets per month.
Salvation Army Case Manager Abby Craig said this food drive is huge for the pantry, but the small drives and individual donations are important too.
“It’s food Christmas for us,” Craig said. “We’re thrilled.”
The donations from this drive will get the Salvation Army food pantry through the year, Craig said, but the pantry will still have needs. Craig said the need in Jamestown for food and other services has grown over the years.
“The more food donated, the more funds we have for other services,” Craig said.
Craig agreed with Oberlander that summer is a busy season, and people don’t think about donating in the summer. The holidays bring out the giving spirit, Craig said.
Craig said the competition between businesses is a cool thing, but there is no competition between the Community Action and Salvation Army food pantries. “We’re all trying to feed the community,” Craig said. “In the end, the people who have the need are the winners.”