Food boxes head out just in time

First Posted: 12/12/2009

DOBSON Volunteers from across the county operated like a well-oiled machine Saturday morning as they filled food boxes for distribution by the Surry County Sheriffs Office.
Around 50 volunteers packed 250 boxes full of items ranging from cereal and pasta to peanut butter and jelly and potatoes in about 40 minutes in the lobby of Surry Central High School. About one hour after they started, it looked like they had never even been there with the trailers of food gone and clean-up efforts wrapping up.
Volunteers from the sheriffs administrative office, patrol officers, Surry County Schools administrative team, social workers, the countys detention center, Surry Manor, Surry Central High School, Central Middle School and Surry Community Colleges baseball team answered the call to service by forming an assembly line to ensure each box contained every available item and then loading them onto one of the many trailers stationed outside and ready to begin making deliveries.
Most of the food was purchased from Wal-mart with money from the donations received by the Sheriffs Office in mid-October. Part of the donations go toward buying food for the food boxes while another part goes toward the shopping spree for toys for needy families which the office will tackle on Monday. Wal-mart contacted some of its suppliers who donated some goods as well. Wayne Farms donated all of the boxes to the cause and the countys maintenance staff helped to move the food.
SCCs baseball team contacted the Sheriffs office last year to see if they could help out with the cause. This year, about 30 members of the team and coaching staff appeared at Surry Central High School at 8 a.m. on Saturday to lend a hand.
We have most of the same people here from our office as were here in the beginning. But its nice to have those strong backs to help, Atkinson said of the baseball team.
The effort of creating food boxes began 16 or 17 years ago when it took six volunteers more than three hours to put together 50 boxes, according to Sheriff Graham Atkinson.
Its just gotten a little bigger every year since then, said Atkinson. We thought wed done good that year.
The effort started just after the Sheriffs Office began participating in the DARE program in the schools. It was then that the deputies noticed the need there was in the county for assistance and the fact that there was not really anyone there to step up and take on the problem. They started out by helping a few elementary students and when the program picked up steam, they expanded to the middle and high school levels as well.
Its fun, Atkinson said of the process of gathering a central location each year to pack the boxes and then drive them around the county for distribution. Its just one of those things that has evolved.
One of the challenges faced by the office each year is ensuring that there is enough money to help the people in the county. Especially in recent years when people have struggled so much with finances, there were times when they were unsure whether or not they would have the money when the time came to go shopping, whether for food or for toys. However, Atkinson said that even if it came in while they were on their way to the store, the money was always there in the end.
Even with the bad finances, the money comes in. It may be at the last minute, but it always shows up. Its all about having faith. I pray every day on my way to work that this will work out. Weve got a lot of people praying for this, he said.
Contact Morgan Wall at [email protected] or 719-1929.

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