Food drive looking to get early start

Thanksgiving is a time to be grateful for not only family and friends, but for the things we sometimes take for granted–like shelter and food.
While Capt. Eric Alcock of the local Salvation Army reported the food bank is in good shape here, it’s now the time of year when the program starts looking to the long winter ahead.
“It hasn’t been any busier than usual but we still need donations. Between summer and Christmas, it’s a good time of the year to catch up,” Capt. Alcock remarked.
“We normally have high school students co-ordinate a food drive this time of the year but I’m not sure what happened this year. It’s a little unusual,” he added.
But the Salvation Army is going to take the initiative to ensure its food bank remains well-stocked through the winter. “We’ll be contacting local schools pretty soon, and we’re hoping to get a blitz going before the end of November,” said Capt. Alcock.
“We’re hoping to get them online well before Christmas so we can plan better,” he added.
But he also stressed anytime is a good time for people to donate to the food bank. Some preferred non-perishable donations include powdered milk, jams, canned fruit, coffee, and tea.
Due to the ever-increasing cost of purchasing perishables such as meat, Capt. Alcock said the Salvation Army will make some exceptions for perishable donations.
“What would really help us out is if someone has a pig or a moose. We can have it cut up and then freeze it and give away the meat,” he noted, adding a district farmer donated a pig to the food bank earlier this year.
“Frozen ground beef is also good,” he said.
As far as this Thanksgiving goes, Capt. Alcock said the Salvation Army has nothing special planned.
“We usually don’t. But in the past, we’ve done something where a generous donor would get us to make Thanksgiving hampers for two or three needy families,” he explained.
In related news, Capt. Alcock said he was thrilled to see the Times’ annual Great Chili Cook-off raise $1,300 for local food banks, a portion of which will go the Salvation Army.
“It’s a big help this time of the year. It helps us get the items that aren’t donated to us,” he said. “We’re very happy [the Times is] willing to do that.”