Newton County Food Basket Brigade organizers are asking that everyone donate some non-perishable food items Saturday, as the annual community-wide, door-to-door solicitation will commence.
The door-to-door event will be held from 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. inside Neosho and on the “fringes of the city limits,” according to Newton County Food Basket Brigade Community-wide Pick up Coordinator Jacque Faulkner.
“We have 24 sections, and normally each of them will have from six to eight volunteers, so I normally say we will have between 150-175 volunteers,” she said. “If residents would like to donate, we would love for them to go ahead and place any non-perishable items in a plastic bag or bag of some sort, set them on their front porch.”
Volunteers from various churches, civic and youth groups who will be conducting the door-to-door drive hope to complete their pick up by 11 a.m. Volunteers will also be knocking at doors to ask for the non-perishable food as well.
Anyone who will not be home on Saturday and would like to participate can take their donations of food or cash to the Newton County Emergency Management Agency office in the old Neosho Armory at the corner of Brook and Jefferson Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.
There is still time to help on Saturday.
“I have an area right now that I don’t have covered,” Faulkner said. “We are still accepting volunteers at this time… if they are interested in doing the door-to-door pick up, please contact me, because at this point and time, I could still use volunteers.”
Brigade officials estimate that so far, they have collected approximately half of the food and cash they will need to meet this year’s goal of 120,000 pounds of food. A record number of families have already been certified as eligible for assistance this year. Additional applications will be accepted through this Thursday at the Neosho Help Center, located just off of the Neosho Square. Officials expect more than 1,000 families will qualify for assistance.
Saturday’s volunteers will deliver the food they collect to the Basket Brigade’s distribution headquarters at 629 North College St., Neosho, where additional volunteers will begin the process of sorting and organizing donations in preparation for the distribution of food to qualified recipients on Saturday, Dec. 15.
Persons or groups who want to help collect food on Saturday are asked to call Jacque Faulkner at 483-8690. Volunteers who want to help with food sorting at the distribution center at 629 North College should report by 9 a.m.
“I think that it is an amazing thing,” Faulkner said of the volunteer effort. “I am impressed and pleased every year to see it all come together.”
Page 2 of 2 - The Basket Brigade is now in its 25th year of collecting food for distribution at Christmas to needy families and individuals in Newton County. Last year, the drive distributed food to more than 950 families. Since its beginning in 1988, the Basket Brigade has collected more than 5 million pounds of food for Christmas baskets. Any money or food left over after each year’s campaign is donated to the Neosho Help Center.
Dates to remember
• Last day for donations is Wednesday, Dec. 12
• Food distribution is at the former Auto Tech building, 629 N. College St., Neosho on Saturday, Dec. 15
• Monetary donations can also be mailed to Newton County Food Basket Brigade, P.O. Box 925, Neosho.