Hunger doesn’t take a holidaySpecial to The Mountaineer
The spirit of giving is alive and well in Western North Carolina, especially when it comes to donating food for our neighbors facing hunger. Community groups held more than 50 food drives to benefit MANNA FoodBank during the holiday season.
Food drives are like snowflakes- no two are exactly alike. Many drives use healthy competition to inspire giving. This year, Oakley Elementary in East Asheville competed by grade level. They collected 1,265 pounds of food. An Asheville apartment complex, Bell Forest at Biltmore Park, held a drive that emphasized healthy eating. They decorated the clubhouse with a “rainbow” of nutritious food that ended in a food barrel disguised as a pot of gold.
As the holidays end, food drives are more important than ever. Recent changes in unemployment benefits mean that even more people in our community will be making tough choices, such as whether to buy food or pay the gas bill.
To help people facing hunger in Haywood County, a food drive is a great way to do it. Whether it’s a school, a place of business, or a community group, food drives bring people together to work for the common good in a way that few things do. Follow these simple steps to make a big impact in the community.
• Decide who the food drive will benefit. The Open Door accepts food and financial donations. It may be helpful to contact the pantry or program director to let them know your plans.
• Promote a drive two weeks before it starts. Competitions (between grades, departments) or incentives (employees get to wear jeans, pizza party) can really get people excited.
• Give the drive a theme. Maybe you want to collect healthy items, items to help families with young children, or something focused on the elderly. Whatever it is, let people know what kinds of food or items would be most helpful for your drive.
Short and sweet works best. Shorter drives tend to be the most successful. People tend to be the most excited at the beginning. Don’t leave your boxes or barrels out for several weeks. Come with a bang and end on a high note.
• Collect and deliver. Once the drive is over, make arrangements with the pantry or food program to deliver the food that you have collected. Make sure to follow up with your group to thank them and let them know how much food was collected.
for more information, contact MANNA FoodBank, 627 Swannanoa River Road, in Asheville, at 299-FOOD (3663) or visit MANNAFoodBank.org.