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November 3, 2013

Food drive donations exceed goal in big way

Lions provide assistance equal to more than 137,000 pounds

Donations on the final day of The Cullman Times’ Cares & Shares food drive shattered last year’s record, bringing much needed support for the Cullman Caring for Kids food bank.

"Once again the people in Cullman County have shown what makes this one of the most caring counties in the United States," said Times Publisher Bill Morgan.

With a goal of 120,000 pounds set for the this year’s annual food drive, the Cullman Lions Club pushed the mark to 192,000 pounds. Members of the Lions Club arrived at The Times’ office about 15 minutes before the 5 p.m. food drive deadline, bearing a monetary donation of $19,448 and 900 pounds of food collected at the county fair this year. The total donation by the Cullman Lions Club came in at 137,036 pounds.

The donation more than doubled last year’s effort by the Lions, who have been the top contributor to the campaign for several years.

“We can't say enough about the work and contributions of groups like the Lions Club, the schools of the city and Cullman County, businesses and the many residents, both private and public officials, who gave so much to make the drive as successful as it is," said Morgan.

"When we started this food drive project six years ago, our intent was to help the Caring for Kids Food Bank through a few rough patches during the year. Never in my wildest dreams would I have imagined it would grow to raise enough food to supply the food bank for almost an entire year. It's simply unbelievable."

The final amount collected for the food drive reached 192,026 pounds. Last year’s collection was 118,000 pounds.

“That is awesome. Those guys in the Lions always come through. They really believe in the community,” said Javon Daniel, director of Cullman Caring for Kids. “So many people contributed throughout the community, including students at the schools. This has been a great effort and much needed.”

Lions Club member Fred Osborne said members take the food drive seriously because of the need to keep local children and families in need provided with adequate amounts of food.

“When it comes to children, especially, that’s something that gets close to me. We need to make sure there is plenty of food available for them,” Osborne said.

Dennis Berse, Lions Club member, also noted that anyone members approached about donating the food drive were receptive.

“I think people are seeing how important this is for the community. We want to be able to fund the food bank for the year so Cullman Caring for Kids can focus resources on some of its other programs that are aimed at stopping abuse,” Berse  said. “We’ve made the food drive one of our biggest projects of the year. We sit down when it’s over each time and evaluate what else we can do looking forward.”

Josh Speakman, another member of the Lions, said being a part of the food drive has been a rewarding experience.

“It’s a cause the Lions have committed to in a big way. It’s talked about at every meeting and members put a lot of effort into it,” Speakman said.

Daniel said the huge donation to the food bank will allow Cullman Caring for Kids to provide families with a better supply of food and necessities in the coming months.

“I can tell you the success of this food drive is going to keep things going in a big way,” Daniel said. “This is sustainability for us and the people we serve in the community. Our goal is always to be prepared for the community’s needs and this ensure that we will be able to meet that goal.”

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