A season for sharing
Community contributes to meet increased need
As she takes requests for Thanksgiving dinners, Jodi Hitchcock said the De Soto Multi-Service Center is seeing the effects of the economic downturn and Sept. 11.
"I'm hearing from people I've never heard from before," she said last Thursday. "I've had 70 requests. That's this week. I know there will be more by the time we're through."
The De Soto community has stepped up to provide for the added need, Hitchcock said.
"I've had lots of people donate," she said. Among the many businesses that contributed, De Soto Apple Mart helped with the turkeys and Custom Foods is providing the bread for the meals.
There has also been a big push at local schools. Starside and Mize elementaries, Lexington Trails Middle School and De Soto High School have all had food drives to stock the Thanksgiving baskets with canned goods and other staples.
Starside Elementary social studies Paula Henderson said the school had a number of challenges and contests during its drive. The added incentives were effective. The school contributed 4.400 items during its drive, she said.
Despite the contests, teachers stressed all who contributed to the drive were winners.
"We had a lot of kids get into the spirit," Henderson said. "I had a little first-grader come in today doubled over from a backpack filled with cans."
The fifth-grade class of Mandy Adcock donated the most. Adcock said she had a ringer in Scott Hill, who contributed 235 cans of food.
Henderson and Adcock said they thought the terror attacks of Sept. 11 contributed to the students' response.
"This year was a little bit different," she said.
An in-house food drive at De Soto High School, the powder puff football game and a Trick or Treat So Kids Can Eat campaign filled more than two pickup truckloads of food, said Jason Smith, the school student council sponsor.
"We collected more than twice as much as last year," he said. "The kids really worked hard.
"I think also with all that is going on in the country, people saw this is a good way to contribute. Not everyone can donate money to the Red Cross for New York City, but everyone can give a can of food that will help a local family."