Donors put love in action at food, paper drive

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The Wilson community showed its love to others Wednesday and headed out to support a cause to benefit those in need.

Hope Station held its first “Share Your Heart Food and Paper Drive” in the Shoppes at Brentwood parking lot. One by one, residents unloaded their cars or dropped off various items including canned and dried goods, toilet paper, diapers and paper towels.

Kay Hannaford was one of many who decided to be a valentine for someone in need Wednesday. Hannaford said she always tries to do something for Hope Station since the organization helps many people in Wilson.

“I just know there’s a lot of people in need, and any little anybody can do helps,” she said.

Hope Station’s healthy food pantry serves between 400 and 500 families per week. On average, the pantry distributes about 16,800 pounds of food each month. In 2019, more than 100 tons of food was distributed from the agency’s pantry. Officials say that’s why food drives are vital throughout the year.

Gary Proffitt, member of Hope Station’s board of directors and the group’s fundraising chairman, said the outpouring of love and support Wednesday was tremendous.

“When there is a need to give, Wilsonians come out,” said Proffitt, who spearheaded Wednesday’s event. “I’m just so appreciative.”

The generous donations couldn’t have happened at a better time, officials say. Hope Station’s healthy food pantry was low on items including cereal and canned meats.

Proffitt said they received many monetary donations as well. Proffitt said Wednesday’s food and paper drive was a way to celebrate love by helping a neighbor need.

The Rev. Linda Walling, Hope Station’s executive director, agreed.

“This community has a big heart, and to be able to tap into that to meet the needs of those experiencing hunger and homelessness is really gratifying,” Walling said.

Co-sponsors of the event included Shoppes at Brentwood, Lowe’s, Garris Evans, Leonard Buildings and Truck Accessories and Billy Ray Lucas.