Kiwanis food drive overflows with bounty; 5 pickup loads, to be exact
Faith Huffman | News-Telegram News Editor

Dec. 14, 2006 - Every year, the two Sulphur Springs Kiwanis clubs host a canned food drive, with Brookshire's and county schools acting as collection sites. As an extra incentive for school children, each school is challenged to bring the most number of canned goods for annual bragging rights.

This year, the children and schools were so generous the Kiwanis clubs had at least five extra truck loads of food they were able to donate to Gober-Merrell for the auto dealer's extended holiday food drive.

"We had a massive turnout from the kids of Hopkins County schools," said Roxanne Rich with Kiwanis. "We filled 260 boxes and have enough left over to help fill [Gober-Merrell's drive] — five pickup loads, if you can believe."

Rich sends a heartfelt "thank you" to Brookshire's customers and all of the children and parents in Como-Pickton, Saltillo, Cumby and North Hopkins school districts, as well as Early Childhood Learning Center and all elementary schools and the middle school in Sulphur Springs Independent School District.

Along with Rich, Shelly Ogle and Joe Mack Gober of Gober-Merrell said they are especially grateful to "every tender heart" at Lamar Elementary, wher 3,684 cans of food were collected.

One student at ECLC is credited with being a living display of "the true meaning of Christmas." The child not only donated half a dozen cans but also dropped in 53 cents in change, tied the bundle tightly in a grocery sack and put it in the school drop box.

"We want to wish an extra blessing to that child," Rich said.

Ogle said the five truck loads of food will go a long way toward helping Gober-Merrell their list of families needing help.

Ogle coordinates Gober-Merrell's annual Thanksgiving food drive, which which was extended through Christmas this year due to the larger-than-normal need among community members for assistance.

Seeing the first load of groceries arrive at Gober-Merrell Wednesday afternoon, Ogle said, "This is just unbelievable."

"This is just great. There are just so many people in need this year. This will help so many," Gober said.

Gober-Merrell, which works with Hopkins County Salvation Army on the drive, decided to continue accepting food until Christmas to assist the families on their list after distributing food to 316 families for Thanksgiving.

Ogle said their holiday drive usually provides enough food to meet the needs at Thanksgiving but usually leaves enough to carry over to help some at Christmas. This year, however, due to the increased number of families seeking assistance, there was barely enough donated to meet the needs at Thanksgiving.

While the five truckloads of canned goods will go a long way to fill their Christmas list, Gober-Merrell will still be accepting donations of groceries at the dealership through the next week, Gober said.

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