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Food pantry shelves full with a little help

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By Susan Sharp

sharp@lafollettepress.com

Thanks to the efforts of a group of co-workers, Food Life Services has a fuller pantry this holiday season.

Employees at Terry’s Pharmacy have worked throughout the month requesting customers bring in canned food to be donated to Food Life Services.

However, that was only one part of the charitable idea. Store Owner Rissa Tamer promised to match the cans brought in by customers.

As of Tuesday morning, the end of the drive, 2021 cans and 73 hams had been donated.

“It is refreshing to see what they and the community have done,” said Gail Holtslag, a food buyer for Food Life Services. “Any donation makes a difference but this makes a significant impact.”

“It is amazing how many people have put forth,” said Tamer as she stood among cases of food Sunday night.  

“The community really stepped up,” according to Sue Standridge, one of the employees Tamer credits for the success of the drive.

With the holidays approaching and the economy in a downswing, Holtslag said the contribution was perfect timing. She estimated that with the contribution from Terry’s 240 more families will be served by Food Life Services this week.

When the food drive was kicked off at the beginning of the month, Standridge said the donations began pouring in the next day and they didn’t stop.  When customers were asked to bring in one can many brought in multiple bags of food, she said.

“It has been very humbling,” Tamer said.

And while the donations poured in as customers came through the doors, they also came in other ways. When Gwen Patterson took medications to homebound customers, she was often met at the door with a donation.

“You can never have too much,” Tamer said adding Patterson had also been instrumental in the collection.

Raewyn Snodderly, who Tamer called the mastermind behind the drive, deemed Patterson and Standridge “the good Samaritans” who have made a difference for many this holiday season.

When the time came to match the donations, other businesses contributed.

Food City offered a discount on the cans while Hollingsworth Grocery Store also offered a discount and contributed food, according to Tamer.

“We appreciate this. It is that many more people we can help,” Holtslag said.

“God was working in this store,” Standridge said.