Despite coming up a few cans short, the Fourth Annual Payson Area Food Drive was a huge success and donations will help keep needy families fed for months, organizers declared.
Monetary donations this year exceeded the $50,000 goal by nearly $5,000, setting a new record.
Organizers had set an equally high canned food goal of 65,000 pounds in a three-month period that ended Super Bowl Sunday.
Despite a last-minute push by area churches and the Boy Scouts, food collections fell 10,000 pounds short. Still, collecting 55,000 pounds of food is a worthy accomplishment by the community, said drive chair Roger Kreimeyer.
“It is outstanding,” he said. “We have completed a successful drive that will meet our goals to support the food banks so there will be no hunger in the Payson area this year,” he said.
Money raised during the PAFD goes throughout the year to the St. Vincent de Paul and Community Presbyterian Church Food Banks to help buy food and supplement food boxes.
Last year, donations to the drive lasted into the fall, with organizers giving money and food to each food bank as it needed help.
Al Shiya, with St. Vincent, said the food drive is a huge help to the food bank. While St. Vincent receives food shipments from the Valley St. Vincent, the federal government and donors, food shipments have dwindled. On average, the food bank spends $1,000 a week on food to supplement donations.
Money given to the PAFD will help cover this cost.
“This is a remarkable undertaking,” Shiya said. “The value of the work that has been done ... and the community generosity is enormous.”
Drive committee members Eric Randall and Cliff Potts agreed, adding people could continue to donate throughout the year to the food bank of their choice.
Roundup publisher John Naughton praised the community for its donations and committee members and volunteers for holding yet another successful drive.
“I look forward to the day these events won’t be necessary,” he said.
Potts praised Kreimeyer for leading another drive that was not immune to a few hiccups.
“Under your leadership, by asking many of us to do a little bit, great things have been accomplished,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to be a part of such a successful effort. Thanks again for leading another successful food drive that allows the good people of Rim Country to shine.”