Rotary’s community-wide drive nets two tons of food for Rockwall County’s hungry

Rotarians to host luncheon recognizing Heath fire station’s collection efforts

“Joining Hands to Help Others” was the 2011 Rockwall Rotary Club’s theme for its recent community-wide food drive benefiting the Helping Hands food pantry.

Each year, Helping Hands distributes thousands of bags of groceries to individuals and families in need across Rockwall County. The need is most recognized during the holidays, but is no less real all 365 days of the year. Hunger reaches across every socio/economic stratum in Rockwall County, from families struggling to house, clothe and feed themselves on minimum wage incomes – to professionals who find themselves out of work and their resources depleted.

Margo Nielson, executive director at Helping Hands. Photo submitted by Barbara Allan.

Many community groups such as the post office, Scout troops, and churches who traditionally host food drives during the fall season, joined with new groups enlisted by Rotary.

The monthlong effort resulted in more than two tons of food items for Helping Hand’s food pantry, according to Margo Nielson, executive director of the critical assistance agency.

The Rockwall and Heath fire stations participated in the drive by hosting drop boxes and accepting donations. Many local students took part by collecting canned goods throughout their neighborhoods. A friendly competition between the fire departments earned Heath the honor of a luncheon hosted by the Rotarians, to recognize the station’s success in collecting and storing the most food. The lunch will be Tuesday, Dec. 13.

Bruce Paton and his wife Dariah.

Rotary member Bruce Paton has also earned recognition for showing the “most food drive spirit” by organizing a Chandler’s Landing HOA food drive and reaching out to 10 friends to multiply the spirit of helping feed the hungry in Rockwall County.

The need never stops and donations are accepted daily at the Helping Hands food pantry, located at 950 Williams St., next to the Rockwall ISD Administration Building. Helping Hands has been making a difference in the lives of Rockwall County residents for more than 30 years.

Written by Lee Gilbert, Helping Hands board member, with additional information provided by Barbara Allan, Chairman of Rotary’s food drive 2011 and Rotary’s PR, and Nancy Beaty.

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