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Wed, Nov. 20

Lions Club comes to food bank's rescue

Courtesy photo<br>
Audrey and Len Covello (seated), along with Earl Donnels, welcomed shoppers to the Safeway store off Willow Creek Road, one of five stores that participated in the food drive.

Courtesy photo<br> Audrey and Len Covello (seated), along with Earl Donnels, welcomed shoppers to the Safeway store off Willow Creek Road, one of five stores that participated in the food drive.

Old Mother HubbardWent to the cupboardTo give the poor dog a bone.When she got there,The cupboard was bare,And so the poor dog had none.That familiar nursery rhyme painted a sad picture. No bones about it. The Yavapai Food Bank was approaching the same problem late last month. Its cupboard was on the brink of becoming bare, and a Courier editorial published Oct. 22 put out the word that the food bank needed help.It was at that point that the Prescott Noon Lions Club sprang into action and contacted the food bank's director, Ann Wilson, who confirmed that the bank would be completely out of food by Oct. 30 and that another drive was not scheduled until closer to the holidays. Because of the struggling economy, she said, many people are without jobs, have no food for their families and hundreds of new people are contacting the food bank for help each month."We decided that we couldn't let people go without food, so the decision was made to conduct a food drive on Oct. 30," according to the Noon Lions president, Gary Nichols. "We contacted Ann Wilson," he added, "and told her about plans for the drive and coordinated with her when and where to drop off the food" at the conclusion of the drive. "We drafted a letter and hand-carried it to Courier editor Tim Wiederaenders' office," Nichols continued, "saying our club was going to help and asked if he would mention in his paper when it was going to happen," which he did in a column on Oct. 29. Meanwhile, Nichols and fellow Lion Paul Chastain visited both Fry's markets, both Safeway's and Albertsons, explained the situation with the food bank and told the markets' managers what the club wanted to do. "All five stores said 'yes' on the spot and agreed to let us put our club trailers directly in front of their stores the day we collected," Nichols said. "We called and e-mailed all radio stations in our area, telling them what we were doing and why, and asking them for help with public service announcements," he continued, "and all four Yavapai Broadcasting Corp. stations - KQNA, KPPV, KDDI and KAHM - all made announcements for us. KAHM radio even did a live interview with me and broadcast it!""We had special signs made for use at the entrances to each store stating that we were conducting an emergency food drive for the Yavapai Food Bank," with Banners N More on South Montezuma Street preparing the signs and donating them to the effort.On Saturday, more than 30 Noon Lions, along with several wives, passed out listings from the food bank focusing on the items they needed the most and gave them to those requesting them. "People gave us baskets and full cases of food," Nichols said. "It was tremendous!"The drive took place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., and Lion Ev Moore shot pictures throughout the day at every store, along with additional photos when the trailers arrived for unloading at the food bank at 8866 Long Mesa Road in Prescott Valley. "We collected more than 7,000 units of food, counting full cases as one," Nichols pointed out, delivering some 8,611 pounds of food - over four tons -"all of which were weighed by the food bank after we unloaded the trailers. We collected $1,801.50 in cash and checks from customers at the stores and from fellow Lions."The director of the food bank said it was the largest amount of food they had ever received at one time" and that it would help take care of families "for a little over a month."It was a day to remember based on the generosity of area shoppers and the cooperation exhibited by the participating store managers."The public was so generous," said enthused food bank director Wilson. "It was really fantastic!"
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