The Daily Southerner, Tarboro, NC

November 18, 2013

TDS kicks off ‘Community Food Challenge’


MACCELSFIELD — In an effort to help Tarboro Community Outreach feed less fortunate members of the community, The Daily Southerner is announcing the kickoff of the first annual TDS Community Food Challenge.

“Our goal is 5,000 non-perishable food items collected between now and Tuesday, Dec. 17,” said Publisher John H. Walker.

Walker said any and everyone may participate in the challenge and there is no prize, other than the satisfaction that you helped someone less fortunate than yourself.

“We are encouraging individuals, civic and social groups, businesses large and small, churches, Sunday School classes, schools, daycares, government agencies — literally everyone, to bring 10 non-perishable food items by the newspaper,” Walker explained. "We will collect them, place them on pallets, shrink wrap them and ensure they get to Sister Mary Ann (Czaja) at TCO in time for Christmas.”

Czaja said the demand for assistance continues to grow on an almost daily basis.

“There aren’t any jobs, assistance (from government) is being reduced and people still have bills to pay and obligations to meet.”

Czaja said she was “excited” about the food challenge “because Tarboro has always been so very good to us. If it were not for the community, we wouldn’t be able to help anyone.”

Walker said the challenge part of the food drive is to make things a bit competitive in an effort to collect more food.
“As groups bring food by the newspaper, we will take a photo and publish those. Also, as the amount of food collected grows, we will publish regular updates and list those who have participated.

“We will also publish a page that includes the logos of the participants, whether the Golden K or Rotary or Keihin, to give them the recognition they deserve.”

Walker said Czaja offered the suggestion that people look for bulk items, such as bags of sugar, flour, cornmeal, rice or beans because they will allow a food box to be stretched. Additionally bulk items can benefit larger families and powered or condensed milk can are welcome items.

Walker asked that younger children not be overlooked and said baby food is often needed as well.

“Because it will be a few weeks before we deliver across the street to Sister Mary Ann, we are asking for only non-perishable items,” he said.

Walker the project is similar to one the local newspaper conducted in Thomasville in the early 2000s.

“Our first year’s goal was 2,500 items and we raised almost 18,000 — we were overwhelmed with the response and there is no reason to believe the people of Tarboro and East Carolina are any less generous than those in the Triad.

“Regardless, ever item we collect is one more than we had and it could help keep someone from going to bed hungry.”

Walker asked that persons wishing to make a monetary donation to do so directly to TCO.