By GINA KINSLOW
GLASGOW — Barren Countians recently stepped up to answer a call for help by responding to the first communitywide food drive.
Individuals, civic organizations, churches and other groups were recently asked to donate enough nonperishable food to fill food pantries in Glasgow and Cave City “to the brim;” hence the name of the food drive.
The actual food drive spanned from Aug. 24-29, but donations began pouring in prior to the designated week for the drive and are still coming in, according to officials.
Sue Haynes, director of the Community Relief Fund for Glasgow-Barren County, said Wednesday there is no way to actually measure how much food was donated.
“The response has been so overwhelming that we’ve actually overflowed out of our food pantry room into another room,” she said. “We really didn’t expect this. We really appreciate the businesses, churches and individuals who have given food. A very, very special thank you goes to Dr. Mody. He’s been great to work with and he’s really worked hard at this.”
It was Bharat Mody’s idea to do a communitywide food drive.
“He pretty much coordinated all of it,” Haynes said.
Mody spoke at several civic club meetings and other organizations encouraging everyone to take part in the “To the Brim” food drive. He also helped organize the placement of volunteers are various locations, such as the Glasgow Walmart, to hand out fliers and take food donations.
“Our wish was to fill the pantries ‘to the brim’ and I think our wish was fulfilled,” Mody, a Glasgow surgeon said. “At the same time, our motto was the community at its best, taking care of its own. I think that’s also been fulfilled because everyone stepped up to the effort for this mission.”
Mody’s hope was that the food drive would become an annual event, and that people would continue to make donations to the food pantries throughout the year.
“Maybe they won’t forget this need throughout the year until we do it again next year,” he said.
The response to the food drive in Cave City was also good, but not as great as it was in Glasgow.
“We rounded up two shopping carts full of food,” said Carol DeGroft, executive secretary of the Cave City Chamber of Commerce. “We set up last Friday at Save-A-Lot in Cave City. We had over a shopping cart and a half full that day.”
DeGroft issued a challenge to members of the chamber to make donations during the food drive and collected nonperishable food items during the chamber’s August meeting.
“They met and exceeded it, which was awesome,” she said. “For the first annual food drive, I think it was a great success for the community.”
Many organizations sponsored their own food drives and then donated to the communitywide food drive as a whole. Among those were the employees at T.J. Samson Community Hospital.
Tootie Bishop, director of radiology, said the response at the hospital was great.
“I have a box van truck with Tommy Lift on it and we had the floor completely filled,” she said. “We had downsized everything to boxes and in some areas it was three boxes deep. We are still collecting food. I’ve had more food turned in.”
The hospital plans to continue its food drive during the week of its 80th anniversary celebration, which is set for Sept. 13-19. Nonperishable food collected during that week will also go to the food pantries, Bishop said.
In the beginning, Haynes had said that if any other food pantries, such as those at resource centers in the schools or other agencies in Glasgow and Barren County needed food, the Community Relief Fund of Glasgow-Barren County would share.
“If they need some, they need to give us a call,” she said, but pointed out that what food was collected in Cave City will go to the food pantry at Pathfinders to help Cave City families.
The amount of food collected will be enough to serve families in need through Christmas.
“By the time we get through that and with the economy, it will be low again,” Haynes said. “But at least it’s going to get us that far.”
On average the Community Relief Fund of Glasgow-Barren County assists 550 to 600 families during the holidays.
“I feel like this year it’s going to be more. We just completed our back to school program. Last year we spent roughly $26,000 to $27,000. This year we spent over $38,000 in two weeks and that was only for school supplies and clothing through the Community Relief Fund.”
Monetary donations are a must to help families with utilities and rent and other needs, she said.
“There are so many things going on, especially with factory closures and layoffs. It’s amazing how many people are laid off right now,” Haynes said. “Unemployment (checks are) a good thing, but it does not start immediately. In the meantime, you could be without utilities. You need food. You may be evicted and then with Christmas coming up I feel like there’s going to be more of a need than any other Christmas we’ve had.”