On a sweltering hot Friday before the 4th of July, NBC26 teamed up with Festival Foods and Y100 for the Food for Neighbors Food Drive. Our team bagged groceries, collected cash and cans of food to feed the hungry in our community.
"It's nice if you can help out others, especially if you're fortunate. We're able to feed our children, and I know there are people that can't. It's always nice to help others," said donor Amy Cherovsky.
"A lot of years ago, I was at the food pantry picking off the shelves to feed my family," added donor Phyllis Wery.
Wery's husband lost his job after a neck injury and they had a young child with special needs. The food pantry served as a lifeline.
"Oh, I'm still paying it back. I could never pay it forward enough for what it meant to me when I was on the receiving side," she said.
With the generosity of Wery and so many others, we loaded a truck with an impressive amount of donations and delivered our haul to Chad Clements, President of the Brown County Food & Hunger Network. He plans to distribute the goods to ten, small pantries across the county.
"The smaller pantries don't always have the resources that some of the larger pantries do, so they depend a lot on generosity from the community," Clements explained.
Your donations tipped the scales at nearly 6,300 pounds of food. Clements said that's enough to feed 2,000 families.
"I think it's pretty amazing, pretty incredible," said Rob Vought, Festival Foods Assistant Store Director.
The food drive proved once again that our area won't let the pantry shelves go bare or bellies go empty.
"It just continues to amaze me how generous this community is," Clements said.
If you missed our food drive, don't worry. You can donate to the program any time. Just grab a $5 or $10 Food for Neighbors card in the aisles or registers at Festival Foods, and the clerk will add it to your grocery bill during check out.
Festival's Food for Neighbors program started in 2004. To date, they've raised over $1.6 million dollars to support food pantries across the state.