John Frutiger was well aware of The Cullman Times Cares & Shares food drive when this year’s effort was announced with a goal of raising 75,000 pounds.
The 67-year-old Cullman resident, who is retired from the Health Department, made his donation to the food drive as in the past, not thinking about winning a prize. He had never won a prize in any type of drawing in the past, so he had no reason to think that streak would end.
Nonetheless, Frutiger became this year’s winner of the grand prize — a deep freezer from Handy TV & Appliance in Cullman.
“I’m 67 years old and I’ve never won a prize of any kind,” Frutiger said. “I’m certainly happy about it, and surprised. I’ve given to the food drive in the past. I know Javon Daniel (director of Cullman Caring for Kids and the food bank) and I know they have a lot of families coming in because of the economy and what the tornado did.”
The food drive exceeded all expectations as it soared to more than 108,000 pound collected through canned goods and monetary gifts. The majority of the gifts arrived in the final three days of the food drive to the push the total to the record level. The Lions Club, Cullman High School, Holly Pond Schools, the Auburn Club and Magellan Health Services were among the largest contributors in this year’s effort.
“Cullman County residents must be the most giving people in the world. I simply can't believe the amount of food and money given to the Cullman Times Cares & Shares Food Drive this year. Breaking the 100,000 pound mark is a remarkable benchmark to surpass,” said Bill Morgan, publisher of The Cullman Times. “The thought of any child having to go to bed with hunger pains is an image that breaks my heart and our residents have shown once again they are willing to step forward to help prevent that from happening. I hope our readers understand how much it means to all of us at The Cullman Times to have the entire county get behind us and support this food drive each year.”
Morgan noted that area schools have played a major role in the food drive’s success through the years, inspiring others to get involved with assisting area families in need.
“We're so grateful that some of the schools, such as East Elementary, Holly Pond School and Cullman High School, have adopted this cause. All of us should be proud of the students who got involved in raising food and donations for the drive. The Cullman Lions Club has really come through for us each year and this year made the difference in us beating our sister newspaper in Texas, The Greenville Herald Banner, in our food drive challenge. An organization that gets behind such a great cause like the Lions Club has done is an organization the community should certainly be proud of.
"We also know there were many, many people who stopped by with a few cans of food and to them, I have to say 'thank you.' With each one of those cans came a whole truckload of caring and that's what matters,” Morgan said.
The food bank is providing services to 500-550 families per month, which Daniel has attributed to a downturn in the economy.
In addition to Handy TV & Appliance, businesses donating prizes in the food drive include Dental Arts, Chick-fil-a, Marci Contreras, Lees Veterinary Hospital, The Foundry Super Thrift Outlet, Basch Bros., McGriff Tire, Bennett Tire Service, Bill Smith Buick GMC, Salon Generations (Pat Carter), Yates-Chance Christian Book Store, Cheese Cake Deli and More, Johnny’s BBQ, Lisa Pearson (Salon Generations), Rhonda Bartlett (Salon Generations), Werner’s Trading Company, Catoma Mart, Jack Aces, Compton’s Veterinary Hospital, Blessed Twice Consignment, Fallalay, GNC Live Well, and Prestigious Pets.
* David Palmer may be contacted at 256-734-2131, Ext. 213, or firstname.lastname@example.org