United Way seeks food pantry donations

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Officials are gearing up for the second annual Fill the Bus food drive to benefit Wilson County pantries.

The event will be held from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 21 in the parking lot of Shoppes at Brentwood. The food drive campaign will be held in conjunction with the United Way of Wilson County.

Food collected last year benefited Hurricane Matthew flood victims. And response was so good that Gary Proffitt wanted to hold the event again this year because local food pantries are in need of food daily.

“The disaster is the daily need of food at our food pantries,” said Proffitt, who is spearheading the project. “If not depleted, they are so low that they will be depleted in a couple of weeks.”

Items needed include canned meats, canned vegetables, peanut butter and jelly, pasta, tomato sauce, canned beans, rice, water, juice boxes, individual packets of crackers, snack items or any nonperishable food item. Others items of note include hygiene and cleaning supplies.

Financial contributions will also be accepted on site and checks can be made out to United Way of Wilson.

Proffitt said the goal is to collect as much food as possible to fill the shelves of Wilson’s food pantries which are in great need now, all the while keeping in mind the holidays are fast approaching and the shelves will become empty again.

He also encourages businesses and corporations to get involved and donate.

“I’m really calling on the public to really chip in and help fill this bus,” he said. “I know we can do it. And I want to see that happen on Sept. 21.”

The SPOT, a local nonprofit, agreed to loan Proffitt its bus, which will be front and center in the Brentwood parking lot on Sept. 21. He said volunteers from United Way agencies will be out there as well.

“You don’t even need to get out of the car,” Proffitt said, adding that folks can drop off items easily. “As the bins get full, we will load the bus. At the end of the day, we will have the agencies come and pick it up and divide it equally among them.”

This year, organizers will also have at least three drop-off locations from now until the day of the event to make it even more convenient for those who want to give. Those locations include Food Lion at Peppermill Drive, Wilson Family YMCA and Victory Fitness.

Proffitt said the overwhelming support United Way boosters received during last year’s event was wonderful. And he hopes for the same outcome this year.

“I have found out that Wilson always steps up to the plate and gives when there is a time for giving and when there is a need,” he said. “It’s unbelievable.”

For questions or more information on the event, contact Gary Proffitt at 252-291-4479.