NEOSHO, Mo. —
The Newton County Food Basket Brigade has kicked off the 25th year of the drive, with a goal of feeding 1,200 families in the county this Christmas.
That is the equivalent of 120,000 pounds of food.
“The need is here in Newton County,” said brigade president Terry Cook. He said that last year, the Food Basket Brigade provided food for more than 1,000 families.
Since its start in 1988, the campaign has collected more than 5 million pounds of food for Christmas baskets.
Donations of food and money to buy food are being accepted at the Newton County Armory, at the corner of Brook and Jefferson streets in Neosho. Drive organizers encourage the donation of nonperishable canned and boxed goods. Cash donations will be used to buy additional food. If any cash is left over at the end of the drive, it will be given to the Neosho Help Center to buy food for its clients.
A communitywide, door-to-door solicitation drive to collect food and money will take place Saturday, Dec. 8.
Applications for assistance from the Food Basket Brigade are being accepted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Tuesdays through Thursdays through Dec. 6 at the Neosho Help Center, 214 E. Main St. A Saturday enrollment session also will take place Dec. 1. Proof of residency in Newton County, a Social Security card and documentation of the number of people living in the home are required.
Cook on Wednesday said 374 families had signed up after just four days of accepting the applications.
The food will be distributed Saturday, Dec. 15, at 629 N. College St., the former Auto Tech building.
Donations so far have come from Clark Funeral Home, La-Z-Boy and Stan Marion Inc. Moark LLC, which has an egg operation in Newton County, has committed to supplying fresh eggs to families approved for participation.
“You won’t find finer people than those here in Newton County,” Cook said. “People dig deep in their pockets and help their neighbors. The people down here are so generous.”
COLLECTION BOXES for the Newton County Food Basket Brigade will be set up in many businesses in the county. Schoolchildren are participating in school-organized collection drives.