Things have gotten off to a rocky start for the Payson Area Food Drive.
With the sudden departure of the drive’s chairman last month to help the victims of Hurricane Sandy and a bit of a mix-up with St. Vincent de Paul board members, collection totals have languished compared with years past.
Interim chair Chuck Proudfoot said it took some time for the board to regroup after Roger Kreimeyer left for New York. One area that suffered the most was the group’s relationship with St. Vincent.
While the largest food bank in the area continued to cooperate with the drive initially, things trailed off and some donations made to the food bank directly didn’t get counted against the food drive’s total.
So far, the food drive has collected only 3,000 pounds of food in donation boxes around town. The drive’s board set a goal of 65,000 pounds of food and $50,000 in donations by Feb. 3, not unreasonable given the amount donated in years past.
In the drive’s three-year history, the community has donated $82,000 in cash and 170,200 pounds of food, with all of the resulting food distributed locally.
When he saw the low donation tally this year, Proudfoot said he started digging into what was going on.
After a lengthy meeting with the St. Vincent board, he thinks things are back on track. St. Vincent has agreed to count some food donations toward the drive.
Proudfoot said some backers worry the goals have been set too high because many people have left the community. Proudfoot said with the need ever present, the goals are on track and obtainable.
To make sure your donations benefit the PAFD, send checks to PAFD, P.O. Box 703, Payson, AZ 85547 and drop food donations off in a collection box. Those are located at the post office, library, Gila County Health Department and Assessor’s Office, Town Community Development, Town Hall lobby, Canal Senior Apartments, Green Valley Apartments, most health care offices, grocery stores and the Payson Roundup office.