Drive Ensures Food Bank Shelves Will Not Go Empty

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The Payson region continues to be economically impacted by the loss of jobs and income. To counter this, the Payson community embarked on a volunteer food drive in November 2010, known as the “Payson Area Food Drive.” Our goal was to raise $25,000 and 55,000 pounds of food to help our neighbors and their families who are out of work and have fallen on tough economic times. We wanted to show our neighbors we care about them and to make sure the food bank shelves would not go empty. We also wanted to ensure that there would be food for these good families if and when they needed it. In other words, we wanted to be sure that no man, woman or child would go hungry this year in the Payson area.

After three months of united community effort and work, the food drive is complete. We can happily report it was a resounding success!

We exceeded our $25,000 goal by $2,000. We collected 52,000 pounds of food, which is just 3,000 pounds short of our 55,000-pound goal. But with the extra $2,000, we can purchase the remaining 3,000 pounds needed to reach our goal. So all our goals were met!

This is the second year the food drive was successfully conducted. However, this year’s success is even more remarkable because of the more severe economic problems this year.

We want to thank each and every donor that gave money and food. Payson area families reached into their pocketbook and their food baskets to give and share with their neighbors. They gave from their hearts. All of these donations will stay in the Payson area and go directly to help Payson area families.

The business community was generous in their support, donating time and services. The two Rotary clubs spent many man-hours collecting, weighing, sorting and boxing the food donations. Also they gave a generous monetary donation.

Young people were also involved. The Boy Scouts collected food on a daily basis and transported it to the storage area. They also performed their own food drive. The high school students contributed by having a “soup kitchen” and performing their own food drives. Small children participated in the Community Winter Festival and donated over 1,000 pounds of food.

Payson churches in addition to their regular collections for those in need, worked together to increase donations. Soup-er Bowl Sunday, a drive by the churches, brought in another large collection of food.

The Roundup newspaper printed articles explaining the plight of families without jobs and income. We were able to gauge the progress of the food drive by the chart on the front page as our mascot, “Woody, the Squirrel,” progressed toward our goals. This was instrumental in keeping the community informed and involved.

KMOG radio gave many spots to advertise and assist the drive. Those periodic reminders were significant in keeping the momentum of the drive, especially after the holidays.

Because of these combined community efforts, the donations collected were significant and should fully support the food banks for the remainder of the year.

The Payson community-at-large continues to show compassion and great generosity for those in need. This food drive was successful without any government involvement, taxes or overhead costs. Yes, Payson is the “Heart of Arizona.”

We encourage the community to continue to support the food banks throughout the year with their direct contributions. Thank you, Payson, and most importantly, your neighbors, “thank you!” You did it again!

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