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Thanksgiving Food Drive raises spirits, donations

By Angela Ward award@news-journal.com
Nov. 19, 2012 at 10 p.m.

Volunteers showed up in droves Monday to help with the annual Thanksgiving Food Drive at Maude Cobb Convention and Activity Center.

"We've got a lot of people showing up to help, which warms my heart," said Betty Horaney, one of the organizers. "However, the amount of food we're receiving seems to be less than in previous years."

The food drive organizers sent approval letters to supply food boxes to more than 1,000 families who will be receiving a food box today. Only families who have already received letters telling them they are approved for a food box can pick one up.

"We've received lots of large donations from schools, churches and workplaces that have held donation drives," Horaney said. "Where we're down is individuals just dropping off a bag or two of food."

Volunteers, whether they make helping out at the food drive an annual tradition or were there for the first time, collecting and organizing the food said it was a rewarding experience.

"It's the time of year when everybody wants to do a little more for those who are struggling," said Craig Washington, a first-time volunteer.

"I'm surprised by how many people have shown up to help and glad that I'm part of this. I definitely hope to do this again next year," he said.

Trevor O'Connor, 14, was there as part of a Longview High School group. "A lot of my friends are here, so I'm really enjoying myself," he said. "We've been blessed and it's important that we help those who haven't been so fortunate."

The theme of sharing their blessings was one that donors and other volunteers echoed.

Beth Grant was dropping off cans she and her children had collected.

"This is a holiday tradition with our family," Grant said. "We've been blessed, and I want my kids to understand the importance of giving to others who don't have as much."

Another donor, Judy Hogberg, said she felt that participating in the food drive helped her grandchildren focus on the true meaning of Thanksgiving.

"I want them to understand that it's more important to give than to get," Hogberg said.

While the Thanksgiving Food Drive is not officially sponsored by the City of Longview, plenty of civic officials were on hand.

City Councilwoman Kasha Williams said that she was impressed by the volunteer turnout, especially the large number of teenagers.

"It's phenomenal that so many people want to be part of this," Williams said. "It really makes me proud of our community."

While food items will not be accepted today, monetary donations to help offset the cost of providing for items not donated will be accepted at Maude Cobb between noon and 3 p.m. today.



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