From staff reports
At least a dozen Longview businesses and other groups will begin collecting items Monday for a citywide food drive organized by a local service club whose annual fundraisers were canceled by the coronavirus pandemic.
The Longview-Greggton Rotary Club’s Food Drive Rodeo kicks off in earnest with the mission of gathering food and other household items to be distributed in the community by four nonprofit organizations.
Nonperishable food is needed, organizers said, but so are items such as shampoo, toilet paper, paper towels, multivitamins, diapers and cleaning supplies.
Event chairman Tyler Rainer said he and the club hope people will join together to make the drive successful.
“This is an amazing opportunity to help our community,” he said. “We really hope local businesses and residents will pitch in to help us make this drive a success. Longview is a giving city, and there is a great need right now.”
The club puts on an annual rodeo in April at the Longview Rodeo Arena to raise funds for local charities. The club’s planned 30th rodeo was moved to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic, and the rescheduled date then was canceled as the pandemic continued.
Without the rodeo as a fundraising engine to give back to the community, club officials determined a food drive could help fill the void.
Members of the club gathered Oct. 1 for a news conference to announce the Food Drive Rodeo, and the Longview Public Library began taking donations the following day. Other businesses have since signed on to become donation sites for the items. They are spread throughout Longview and include the Gregg County Courthouse, two Longview churches and Longview World of Wonders.
Businesses and organizations can still sign up to become a collection point. To get listed, contact Rainer at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (903) 736-0982. To find a list of collection points as they are determined, check longviewgreggtonrotary.org or the group’s Facebook page at facebook.com/greggtonrotaryclub .
Collection points will be active Monday through Oct. 30, according to the club. Businesses can organizes their own drives with employees and/or customers. Groups can also bring collected items to the Longview Rodeo Arena on Oct. 30 or 31. Times for collection in the arena will be 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 30 and 9 a.m. to noon on Oct. 31.