Food Drive Provides Immediate Assistance

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Deliveries of food by truck, car, and trailer loads illustrated an outpouring of caring from neighbors to neighbors in the Brazos Valley.

Food for Families donations from all three collection sites in Bryan, Navasota, and Madisonville equalled more than 196,000 pounds. As far as monetary donations, the total came out to a little more than $66,000. Both amounts exceeded last year's totals.

The food drive's biggest beneficiary is the Brazos Valley Food Bank in Bryan. The Food Bank's Executive Director Theresa Mangapora says as fast as donations were dropped off by generous donors in the community, they were loaded up and sent over to the Food Bank.

"Throughout the day, yesterday, trucks were coming over with just boxes and boxes of food," Mangapora said.

And volunteers did not waste time getting the donations sorted and packed up to be shipped out. The Food Bank's Agencies Relations Operations Manager Rhonda Behrens says donations received during Thursday's annual Food for Families Food Drive is in the process of making its way to agencies who have been waiting for it.

"Food is already being sent out that was distributed yesterday," Mangapora said. "We had agencies in here this morning picking up the items that we have been short on."

The Brazos Center alone collected 177,604 pounds of food.

On Friday, volunteers continued packing boxes according to "need orders" for pantries, families, and individuals identified by the different agencies that partner with the Food Bank.

"We're actually picking apart all of the different things that we've sorted out and making it fill the needs of that particular pantry," Mangapora said.

With the annual food drive occuring right in the middle of the holiday season, Behrens says donations could not come at a better time.

"We get an awful lot of calls from individuals,"Behrens said. "We see a large increase in the number of clients that our agencies are serving."

Financial contributions will equally help the Food Bank by giving them purchasing power to acquire more food.

Monetary collections solely at the Brazos Center totaled at little more than $58,000.

"We can get about six pounds of food for every dollar raised," Mangapora said.

That means more people in the community will not go hungry.