Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The Lord?s Cupboard is gearing up for the community?s annual Christmas food boxes for Jefferson County families in need.
?We?re preparing for 500 families,? said Rose McMahon, helping recruit volunteers for box packing. ?More people are requesting help than ever before. The needs are greater, but the rewards are greater for helping them.?
Last year, 463 boxes were filled, servicing 1,127 individuals.
The Department of Human Services provides names to The Lord?s Cupboard and letters are mailed out for people to reply if they?d like to receive a Christmas food box.
?Multiple organizations help with this event,? said McMahon. ?All year banana boxes are saved and stored at Creative Edge.?
Derik Wulfekuhle, director of Fairfield Park and Recreation Department and his daughter, Ella, have collected more than 500 banana boxes this year.
The Dexter Company provides trucks and employees and Fairfield Lumber Company provides a driver and forklift to move the empty banana boxes to the Nazarene Family Center on the corner of Sixth Street and Briggs Avenue.
Volunteers will clean the boxes, stack and number them at 9:30 a.m. Dec. 16.
?If we have enough volunteers, the cleaning, numbering and stacking usually only takes an hour to an hour and a half,? said McMahon.
Volunteers can help during any part of this three-day process by showing up at the Nazarene Family Center during the times published here for various phases of the operation.
The nonperishable food arrives at the family center at 7:30 a.m. Dec. 17, and volunteers are needed to help stack items.
The main event for volunteers begins at 5:30 p.m. Dec. 17 to pack the food items into the banana boxes.
?Food is donated from the community and The Lord?s Cupboard can buy items from the food bank in Ottumwa at a greatly reduced price,? said McMahon. ?Whatever else is needed, we buy from Hy-Vee and Walmart in Fairfield.?
Each family gets a second box with perishables, including a chicken or turkey, fresh fruits and vegetables, bread, eggs, candy, milk and butter. The perishables arrive at 6:30 a.m. Dec. 18 at the family center. More volunteers sort and arrange these items.
All the boxes are packed according to family size. Individuals qualify, also.
Residents who replied to sign up for a Christmas food box can pick them up at the Nazarene Family Center beginning at 8 a.m. Dec. 18 this year.
?Rotary Club has traditionally helped carry boxes out to cars, because they can be heavy,? said McMahon.
?We also generate a lot of trash from the original boxes the food is delivered in, and Connelly Inc., takes care of our trash for us,? she said.
Other community organizations and businesses that help in this annual show of care and support include:
? Prairie View United Methodist Church will donate more than 800 pounds of potatoes.
? Barker Specialty Products will provide a driver, additional volunteers, box inserts and a truck to move food from The Lord?s Cupboard to the family center.
? Fairfield Public Works will deliver barricades for parking and deliveries.
? Fairfield Hy-Vee Food and Drug Store will provide trucks and staff, deliver dry and fresh foods, as well as donate refreshments for volunteers.
? Walmart will donate dry and canned goods.
? Marcine Baxter will donate fresh eggs.
?The Christmas box program would not be possible without the support of local businesses and organizations who host internal food drives,? said Jane McMahon, spearheading the event.
?The Lord?s Cupboard Board of Directors and I would like to express our thanks to the Breakfast Club Bowlers, Cambridge Investment Research Inc., Future Business Leaders of America at Fairfield High School, Fairfield Trojan Boosters, Future Farmers of America at Fairfield High School, Jefferson County Health Center, Jefferson County Courthouse and countless local churches for hosting food drives.
?We couldn?t do it without volunteers,? she said. ?From elementary children to retirees, the community comes out in full support of the Christmas box project.?