DECATUR—1.3 million pounds of food can’t be raised, collected, organized, and stored without the help of hundreds of volunteers; many of whom were recognized Wednesday for their work on the 2015 WSOY Community Food Drive.
The 2015 Food Drive, which was held on October 9th, 2015, lived up to its reputation as one of the largest 1 day food drives in the nation as 1,271,080 pounds of food was raised during the 12 hour broadcast.
“When we first came up with the idea for the food drive we wanted to fill one semi truck with food; that was our goal” one of the food drive originators Kevin Breheny said. “To see the level that this has gone to in 14 years is simply amazing.”
This year area schools chipped in at an all-time level, with the top 5 schools raising over 526,000 pounds of food themselves.
St. Patrick’s School raised the most food at 187,757 pounds; St. Teresa raised 116,773 pounds; Holy Family raised 90,058; Mt. Zion High School raised 70,141 pounds; and Warrensburg-Latham High School was in 5th place with 62,996 pounds raised.
“This is an amazing day because it’s a day when all of Decatur comes together to help,” Emily Huttes, who is currently a 7th grader at St. Patrick’s School said. “Things like this are important because the need will never stop so we have to keep giving and giving and do our best to make as big of an impact as we can in people’s lives.”
Because of their efforts, St. Patrick’s School received $2,500.
Also recognized Wednesday was the top volunteer of the year; Parke Warehouse’s Kenny Burns was this year’s Geoffrey Neuhoff Spirit Award winner.
Burns said he was recruited to help out at the Food Drive 8 years ago and stuck around every year since, “This award means a lot to me but it’s not the reason that I do this,” Burns said. “I do this because I recognize the need in this community and I want to help out in any way that I can.”
In addition to splitting the food, Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army each received $140,000 to purchase more food. The WSOY Community Food Drive also gave $25,000 to the Judy Mason Thanksgiving Basket Project, and $75,000 to the Good Samaritan Inn and Northeast Community Fund.
New this year were also Extended Hands/Reasonable Service, which each received $50,000, and $2,500 grants were given to God’s Shelter of Love, Amelca Food Pantry, Interchurch Council of Blue Mound, Boody & Stonington and Mt. Zion Methodist Food Pantry.