Helping Fellow Man At Holidays

Published 8:46 pm Wednesday, November 17, 2010

In Lincoln County, hunger is measured by the ton.

With the economic recession forcing more and more people to turnto charity, Brookhaven Outreach Ministries, Inc., has given outmore than 24 tons of food to local needy families so far in 2010.Almost 2,600 people have received 48,502 pounds of food donationsfrom the ministry, and 595 families were assisted in Octoberalone.

The numbers for November and December will be greater.

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“Those are the neediest months, when we see the most amount ofpeople with the greatest need,” said the Rev. Jerry Durr, head ofthe ministry. “A lot of people are out of work, and it’s making thedemand on our food pantry tremendous.”

Durr’s ministry isn’t the only one. St. Francis of Assisi/St.Vincent DePaul and Union Hall Baptist Church are also meetinghigher and higher demands with their food pantries. But this timeof year there’s a way to help all three.

For the seventh time, The DAILY LEADER and Bank of Brookhavenare kicking off the annual Holiday Food Pantry Drive, allowingdonors from around the newspaper’s readership area to makecontributions that will be paid equally, 100 percent, to all threelocal food pantries. Both entities have kicked off the fundraisingby depositing the first $400 in the food pantry account.

It’s up to kind hearts to do the rest.

“The funds raised help us tremendously to be able to minister tothe needs in our community. This is people helping people,” Durrsaid.

Clubs, groups, businesses and individuals may make donations tothe drive by visiting the newspaper at 128 North Railroad Ave., orthe Bank of Brookhaven at 411 Brookway Boulevard, to hand off cashor checks. Checks should be made out to the Holiday Food Pantry. Nofood items will be accepted – the drive will raise money only.

All those who contribute to the drive will be tracked along withtheir donation totals on the front page of The DAILY LEADER untilthe drive concludes next month. Contributors may choose to remainanonymous.

“We’re delighted to continue this effort in these economictimes, and we appreciate the generosity of our subscribers who makethis event possible,” said Bill Jacobs, publisher of the The DAILYLEADER. “Hopefully, we can match last year’s total and outdoit.”

The total amount raised by the Holiday Food Pantry Drive has ranhigh for the last two years. More than $7,545 was raised in thelast few weeks before Christmas last year, and more than $8,400 wasraised in the 2008 installment.

Since the fundraiser was started in 2003 – with a year off forHurricane Katrina in 2005 – the six prior events have raised morethan $41,000 for the local food pantries.

“That’s extra money that would have fallen through the cracksand never be put to use in our community,” Jacobs said.

Bank of Brookhaven Vice-President Shannon Aker said his officehas already received calls inquiring about this year’s food pantrydrive, calls from people the drive once helped who are now eager todo their parts.

“It’s always amazed me how we seem to come up with severalthousand dollars,” he said. “People like to help other people.”

Aker said the Holiday Food Pantry Drive has remained successfulover the years partly because of its basic mission – there are manylocal charities working hard for the holidays, but no others targetsuch a basic human need.

“People gotta eat,” he said. “In Brookhaven, we’ve been blessed.Our little town has taken a couple of hits, but generally we’vebeen able to keep things going and we’ve been blessed. Really thinkabout how much you’ve been blessed.”