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Donations sought to feed families during holidays

Non-profit organizations across Lincoln County are firing uptheir charitable engines for the children this Christmas, and nowtwo members of Brookhaven’s business sector are ready to meet theneeds of whole families.

The DAILY LEADER and the Bank of Brookhaven have begun theirannual Holiday Food Pantry, an annual effort to gather monetarydonations from businesses and individuals for equal distribution tothree city food pantries – Brookhaven Outreach Ministries, St.Francis of Assisi/St. Vincent DePaul and Union Hall BaptistChurch.

“The DAILY LEADER is proud to be a part of this, and we hope thegenerosity of our readers will help those who are less fortunatethis Christmas,” said DAILY LEADER Publisher Bill Jacobs. “In thesehard economic times, the importance of donating to the foodpantries has never been greater.”

The two entities began the effort in 2003, and have conducted itevery year except for 2005, when Hurricane Katrina forced it to aclose. The food pantry drive was back in 2006, and will beoccurring for the third consecutive year this Christmas.

In the four years the drive has been conducted, more than$25,000 has been raised for the local food pantries. In 2007,approximately $5,200 was raised, resulting in a more than $1,700donation check for each pantry.

The 2008 installment of the food pantry drive began late lastweek when the newspaper and the bank each deposited $250 into theaccount.

Donations to the food pantries can be made at either locationvia cash or check. Checks should be made out to the Holiday FoodPantry. The DAILY LEADER is located at 128 North Railroad Avenue,while the Bank of Brookhaven is located at 411 Brookway Blvd.

The donations will be gathered and deposited into an account atthe bank at the end of each week, and the names of those who havecontributed will be displayed daily in the newspaper. Anonymousdonations are allowed.

The deadline for donations is Wednesday, Dec. 17. Donations offood supplies will not be accepted.

Bank of Brookhaven Vice President Shannon Aker admits that thereare many charities operating in Brookhaven throughout the Christmasseason, and the unstable state of the economy has had a negativeimpact on charitable organizations everywhere, but he believesBrookhavenites will still support the food pantry drive in2008.

“I’m amazed every year how the people of Lincoln County step upto the plate and do it,” he said. “Our people have been a generousgroup, and I look for this to be another big year. People seem toreally respond to it – they like the concept of knowing they’reputting food on people’s tables.”

Brookhaven Outreach Ministries Director the Rev. Jerry Durr saidcharity drives like the Holiday Food Pantry help his ministry’sefforts “tremendously.” Last year, Brookhaven Outreach distributedapproximately 50,300 pounds of food valued at $63,425, according tothe organization’s 2007 yearend report.

“October, November and December are real, real busy months forus – especially with the way the economy is right now,” Durr said.”We have so many people coming by needing food. We just thank Godfor these businesses being able to [donate], it’s really ablessing.”