Braving the cold weather on Saturday, volunteers canvassed the Neosho streets and the city’s fringes to collect non-perishable food items during the Newton County Food Basket Brigade’s Door-to-Door community drive.

The event began at 9 a.m. and included 24 routes. It ended shortly after noon when volunteers brought the food back to the former Mills Park Centre in downtown Neosho.

One of the groups that helped out this year was Neosho High School’s FFA students.

“We jumped in the first year this started and we have helped every year,” said Mike Aldrich, FFA advisor. “We try to give back. One of the thing things that FFA is all about is teaching leadership and part of leadership is giving back to your community and being a part of it.”

The FFA students and their parents took to the south part of Neosho area near Crowder College.

“We have a neighborhood that we have been doing for the last several years, that is kind of rural,” Aldrich said.

This year, there were two new faces in FFA doing this door-to-door community event.

“I wanted to just to come out and help and just to help the ag and the community,” said Cody Hardy, first time helper.

First time helper Jesse Richards was also eager to assist the effort.

“I did this because I always heard about and I always wanted to do it,” he said. “I am really impressed for the community to do this, to put this together.”

Aldrich also expressed his appreciation to the community.

“This is something that our community has got behind for a long, long time. I am pretty proud of our community for this,” Aldrich said.

Newton County Food Basket Brigade President Terry Cook was pleased with the amount of food that was brought despite the winter weather that has plagued the county since Thursday, Dec. 5.

“Surprisingly enough with the weather, we did pretty good,” Cook said. “It seems like when the going gets tough, Newton County comes through.”

Aside from the non-perishable food, Cook said that cash donations are “great.”

There is still time to donate food and money.

Residents 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 streets, Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Monetary donations can also be mailed to Newton County Food Basket Brigade, P.O. Box 925, Neosho.

Residents who have qualified to receive the food will be able to get it on Saturday, Dec. 21. This year’s goal of the food basket brigade is to reach 120,000 pounds of food to help 1,200 families.