CRESTVIEW — If grocery shoppers picked up one extra non-perishable food each week and donated it to Sharing and Caring, the local food bank could meet its weekly demand.
The "Everybody Give One" drive is the brainchild of Sharing and Caring volunteer Bret Jenkins, an instructor at the Naval School Explosive Ordnance Disposal at Eglin Air Force Base.
The number of families that Sharing and Caring serves continues to increase over last year's record-setting numbers, food bank vice president Robin Marston said.
"We're serving well over a hundred a week that walk through the door," she said, explaining that each person who collects food represents several other family members at home who were served by Sharing and Caring.
By buying nonperishable food offered during grocery stores' buy-one-get-one-free, known as "BOGO," sales, donors could help keep the food bank's shelves stocked, Jenkins said.
"If everybody would just give something every week, we'd have more than enough," he said. "When you go to Publix or Winn-Dixie and they have BOGO, that extra one could help feed a family at no extra cost."
Jenkins also initiated a business sponsorship program. At no cost to the business, Sharing and Caring will designate the company a food bank drop-off location, provide a collection bin, and will pick up donations weekly.
The News Bulletin, the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office Crestview station and Gordon Martial Arts are three sponsoring organizations.
The food bank is about to reap a windfall in one commodity thanks to local farmers, University of Florida/Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences extension agent Elaine Courtney said.
Courtney has been working on a peanut butter collection drive with the Crestview and Niceville chambers of commerce. Nearly 300 jars, or 5,288.5 ounces, of peanut butter were donated in the Crestview area.
The Florida Peanut Producers Association will match the donations ounce by ounce, Courtney said. Peanut butter will remain in the community in which it was donated, she said.
While some will remain with churches that donated it for use in their cold weather soup kitchens, the majority will go to Sharing and Caring, Courtney said.
WANT TO HELP?
Sharing and Caring needs nonperishable foods and toiletries. Canned hams, gravy, cranberry sauce, stuffing and other holiday feast fare are especially welcomed. Drop off donations at the News Bulletin, 705 Ashley Drive; Gordon Martial Arts, 130 Oakdale Ave.; the Okaloosa County Sheriff's Office, 197 E. James Lee Blvd.; or Sharing and Caring, 298 Martin Luther King Jr. Ave., all in Crestview.
Contact News Bulletin Staff Writer Brian Hughes at 850-682-6524 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @cnbBrian.