James HowellStaff Writerjhowell@heartlandpublications.com
December 23, 2012
Dozens of local families will enjoy a hot and healthy Christmas dinner a result of a successful food drive coordinated during this holiday season by a partnership between LifeStore Bank and Ashe Outreach Ministries.
“The great thing about this is, the food will get delivered right into the hands of those who need it,” said Jane Gardner, development manager for Outgrow Hunger, an initiative of Ashe Outreach Ministries..
Food deliveries were made to 55 different families over the weekend, with each receiving an estimated 50 pounds. This totals about 2,750 pounds of food donated by the community.
“Everyone’s really done a great job this year; I’m happy we had such a good turnout,” said Judy Current, LifeStore Bank’s Marketing and Public Relations Director.
The families receiving the donations had been identified by AOM earlier as most in need, most through the Back Pack Program that sends food home with about 300 students each weekend.
“Most of these families were served through our summer food pack program,” said Gardner.
Once the food was collected from each of the four LifeStore Banks in Ashe County, it was transported to the Ashe Outreach Ministries’ kitchen, located in the Ashe County Early Learning Center.
When it arrived at the kitchen, the food was sorted and placed into different bags to be distributed to each family.
“Each family will get a ham or turkey with all the fixings for the holidays, along with different canned foods and desserts” said Gardner.
For LifeStore, the project was a natural extension of its mission in the community.
“We are so happy to have an opportunity to help serve local families,” said Current about the project.
LifeStore was willing to do more than simply be a collection sites for the food drive.
According to Gardner, the bank’s employees were allowed to help load and sort items for the food drive while they were on the clock.
Along with the bank’s employees, college volunteers Chase Smith and Sara Bumgarner helped load, sort and deliver the food. Also, the truck drivers that delivered the food were volunteers, mostly from First Baptist Church in West Jefferson.
“I really appreciate LifeStore and it employees, as well as Chase and Sara, for all they have done to make this possible,” said Gardner.
“I know we have other charities and contributions happening during the holiday season, so this really shows how much the community is willing to help those who are less fortunate,” said Gardner.