18th Annual WSOY Food Drive Announced

18th Annual WSOY Food Drive Announced

September 5, 2019– The 18th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive to help stock local food pantries will be held on Friday, October 4th at the Airport Plaza Kroger grocery store in Decatur (more details).

Details of the event were announced Thursday morning during a news conference at St Pats School. Last year, the drive collected 1.5 million pounds of food during the 12-hour event.  St Pats was the winning school from last year, raising over 250,000 pounds of food.

People are encouraged to give non-perishable goods or make monetary donations. Giving non-perishable canned goods allows for safe offsite storage helps the supply to last as long as possible.

“We want everyone to give and there’s a way for everyone to give,” said Brian Byers, Vice President of Development for Neuhoff Media and host of Byers & Co. on WSOY. “But we want to heavily concentrate on non-perishable goods and cash or check or credit card donations. We’re running into storage problems and running into perishable goods expiring.”

Through monetary donations, food banks are able to purchase goods on an as needed basis and at a tremendous discount through the Central Illinois Foodbank.

The food drive itself has come a long way as well, collected more than 10.8 million pounds of food over the past 17 years. Byers said the 35,000 pounds collected in the first year was dwarfed by last year’s 1.5 million.

Groups assisted last year were: Catholic Charities Food Pantry, The Salvation Army Food Pantry, Good Samaritan Inn, Northeast Community Fund, The Judy Mason Thanksgiving Basket Project, Extended Hands/Reasonable Services, Crossing Healthcare Prescription Gardens, The Grayson Basket Project, Big Blue Backpacks, Mt Zion Food Pantry, AMELCA, Helping Hands Food Pantry, Moundford Food Pantry, Gods Shelter of Love, Blue Mound Food Pantry and the Cops and Gobblers Program.  

WSOY’s community partners for the food drive are: ADM; First Mid Bank and Trust,  J.L. Hubbard Insurance and Bonds (A First Mid Insurance Group); Skeff Distributing; Jones & Thomas/JTnet; Decatur Back & Neck Center; Tickets N Trips; First Christian Church; Dale’s Southlake Pharmacy & Colee’s Corner Drugs; DynaGraphics/Wood Printing; The United Way, Kroger; The Herald & Review; and WAND-TV.

Once again, cash prizes will go to the top five local schools that collect the most food. Individuals and groups can collect food ahead of time or come out to Kroger that day and donate food or cash in the name of a particular school.

All Macon County Schools grades K-12 are eligible to participate. Prizes are $2,500 for first place, $1,500 for second, $1,000 for third, $750 for fourth and $500 for fifth. Cash donations are converted to pounds and end up weighing more than food donations, so schools are also encouraged to concentrate on canned goods and cash.

Byers said the proceeds from the food drive start serving the community right away.

“It’s not just throwing money at a problem,” he said. “You know you can go to bed that Friday night and Saturday morning food’s going to go to families or hungry children in this community. It immediately goes to work the next day.”

For more information, contact: Overall questions – Lindsay Romano at 217-423-9744; Questions about getting your school involved – Pete Vercellino at 217-520-5098; Questions about getting your company involved – Karin Betzer at 217-877-3344; Questions regarding volunteering  – Debbie Bogle 217-422-8537

How to help the 18th Annual WSOY Community Food Drive:

Participate by making a monetary donation. Checks can be made to “WSOY Community Food Drive”. (Tax deductible donations should be made to The United Way c/o WSOY Community Food drive.)

  • Companies and organizations interested in participating can call to sign up to have “how to” package delivered. This package will include fliers and grocery bags to send home with their employees to fill up and bring back to work. These bags will then need to be delivered to Kroger the day of the food drive (pick-up service is available). These donations will also be designated to individual schools.
  • Consider an employee match contribution.
  • If your business has a marquee, show your support by displaying “WSOY Community Food Drive, October 4th, 2019. 6am-6pm Kroger Rt. 36 East”
  • Assist by donating an hourly incentive such as sporting event tickets and gift cards to use as giveaways to encourage giving.
  • Let us know if your company is doing a special promotion or fundraiser for the food drive so we can share it. You can email details to lindsayromano@neuhoffmedia.com