Brookshire Grocery Co. tomorrow kicks off its 29th annual Spirit of Christmas Food Drive in most of its supermarkets located throughout Texas, Louisiana, and Arkansas.
Approximately 150 stores will collect donations of non-perishable food items and team up with a wide range of service organizations, food banks, and volunteers to distribute food to families who need assistance before Christmas.
“The goal is to supply about a week’s worth of groceries per household based on need,” said community relations director Sam Anderson. “Our company donates boxes for packing food, coupons for a free hen to go along with the shelf-stable goods collected, and in addition sells scan coupons which go back to our partnering service organizations in the form of a gift card to purchase supplemental or needed items in the drive.”
Anderson noted while the format of each store’s food drive may differ, the goal is the same – to pinpoint those who need help and make the holidays brighter by supplying groceries such as corn, beans, rice, chili, spaghetti, spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, tuna, oatmeal, cereal, peanut butter, flour, sugar, and other nonperishable goods.
“Historically, we’ve partnered with groups such as Kiwanis, Lions, and Rotary clubs to get a list of screened households and deliver food to needy families’ homes before Christmas,” Anderson said. “That remains the same in many areas, while in some we’ve moved to partnering with food pantries or other relief organizations to distribute food from a central location.”
Anderson stressed that all food is distributed in the area in which it is donated and collected. “Our store teams do a great job of promoting the food drive, and our shoppers are very generous each year; we couldn’t do it without that strong support,” he added. “Our people even take the time to assemble, display and sell grab-bags, which can be purchased and donated in the designated bin inside store. This is convenient and gives the drive a tremendous boost in many areas.”
Anderson noted that some stores conduct drives on a different timeline, such as those in northeast Louisiana, where the company works with the Food Bank of Northeast Louisiana to service 12 parishes. That effort lasts from November 1 through December 9. Also, in Longview, Texas, he said stores work with the city and local businesses to support an area-wide food drive that concludes by Thanksgiving each year.
BGC’s food drive started in its headquarter city of Tyler in 1982 with the Tyler-Rose City Kiwanis Club and People Attempting To Help, a nonprofit relief organization that services Smith County, Texas. Some 90 families received assistance that year. Last year more than 500,000 pounds of food were collected and donated to more than 16,000 families in 116 cities and towns in BGC’s tri-state market area.