By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Martin Luther King Jr, Day is a holiday for people to step up and serve their community. Though the city’s King tribute scheduled Friday had to be canceled because of the winter storm, volunteers were out Saturday morning going door to door for the 10th annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service “Can” vass Food Drive. Now coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project, the drive helps stock the shelves for a number of area food pantries. (See related story http://bgindependentmedia.org/volunteers-needed-to-help-mlk-day-of-service-food-drive-extend-its-reach/) Amy Jeffers, a Brown Bag board member, said as of the noon shift, 75 people had signed in. Groups of volunteers headed out into the northwest quadrant of the city to collect food stuffs. “We’ll move on from there,” Jeffers said. The table in the middle of Grounds for Thought, headquarters for the food drive, was filling up with spaghetti sauce, canned vegetables and more. “It’s been nice and steady,” she said. “It’s really starting to grow. … They’re really filling the bags.” The drive will extend throughout the city through Sunday. The cold weather is slowing progress some, but Jeffers said the amount collected is the same or more than last year. Jeffers has worked every drive since it started in response to President Obama’s call for to service. Anyone interested in donating can drop of food, hygiene products or monetary gifts at the shop at 174 S. Main St. in downtown Bowling Green. Volunteers will be out from noon to 5 pm. Sunday, but the tables will be set up in the morning for anyone who wants to drop something off. The volunteers are both community members and students. “We get a lot of BGSU students” including a contingent from the women’s swim team Molly Wells, a journalism major was on hand, helping to sort food as it came in. She heard about the drive through her sorority, Sigma Kappa. She also knew about the food drive through a fellow journalism student’s story. “My family has always been very big into volunteering,” Wells said. “My dad volunteers at a soup kitchen downtown Toledo. … I’ve grown up with it. It’s part of my family values. … It’s not only good way to get out and experience new things, it’s a good thing to do. I don’t even think twice of it.” She’ll be back Sunday to continue helping. She missed the signup for Monday’s campus Day of Service, but she’s hoping she can find a way to help. She’s participated in the Day of Service the past three years. “This gives a new spin to what you can do with your time,” Wells said. “It carries a message of what you can do every weekend, every month.” On Monday, more than 800 students will participate in Day of Service projects….
MLK Day of Service
By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Martin Luther King Day of Service “Can”vas Food Drive hopes to extend its reach. Now in its 10th year, organizer Amy Jo Holland, of the Brown Bag Food Project, said she’d like to reach the homes throughout town. That means putting out a call for volunteers, about 300 is what she thinks will be needed. The food drive will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 14, noon to 4 p.m. Last year, Holland said, the canvassers covered the north side of the city and some of the south. “We hope this year we can cover it all.” Volunteer sign up is just getting underway. The organizers have started reaching out to groups at Bowling Green State University as well as community groups. Holland is well aware of people’s reluctance to commit, but is confident as the date nears community members will enlist. Some volunteers will hang back at the collection site, Grounds for Thought, and help sort the food that comes. That means setting aside items beyond their sell-by dates. As long as they are not too old, some pantries can still use those. Most of the volunteers will join small teams of canvassers going door-to-door through Bowling Green neighborhoods collecting non-perishable food and others necessities. Especially needed are peanut and jelly, tuna, and canned meats. They are also collecting hygiene items, baby formula, wipes, and diapers, and pet food. This year seven food shelters will share in the bounty. Those benefiting are: Brown Bag Food Project, the Christian Food Pantry, and pantries operated by St. Aloysius, St. Thomas More, St. Mark’s Lutheran, Broken Chains, and First United Methodist Church. Each received about 30 boxes of food last year. “For us it’ll maintain us through May,” Holland said of Brown Bag. It certainly will not meet all the food needs of the 300 people a month Brown Bag helps, but it’ll provide an essential core of the food deliveries, and means the project will have to buy less to meet the need. The food drive was started in 2009 in the wake of the election of Barack Obama. Some of his supporters wanted to sustain the energy of the campaign through community service. Brown Bag decided to continue it several years ago. Brown Bag has its niche. It provides short-term emergency food supplies with the minimum of paperwork. Other pantries have other niches, so it’s natural for them to work together. “There are people they get that we don’t get,” Holland said. “The ultimate goal is to make sure people are getting fed.”