Stuff A Truck begins today!
One of the ways to help families in the Lake Region have a little brighter holiday this year is to give to the Stuff-A-Truck program, which kicks off today, Monday, Oct. 13 and runs through Nov. 9 at both Leevers Foods locations.
This is the 12th year of that holiday program of giving. In 2011 through Stuff-A-Truck they collected 1,850 lbs. of food and over $3,490 in cash donations, but according to Dave Brustad of Leevers South, they doubled that in 2012 and 2013 thanks to their partnership with the students of Central Middle School.
In fact Brustad gives the Central Middle School students credit for the tremendous increased success of the program and hopes for future growth.
“They have taken this on as a challenge among the classes at CMS - a Prime Time competition - and last year they filled more than TWO trucks instead of one,” Brustad said.
“I can’t wait to hear their plans for this year’s campaign, they are so creative,” he added.
In previous years Leevers and the CMS students partnered with the Dakota Prairie Community Action Agency emergency food assistance program. All donations went to their food pantry.
This year and last year, however, a new partner has stepped up to take on those responsibilities. Amy Hoffmeyer is director of the Hope Center that has taken over the emergency food assistance program for the community. They have remodeled a portion of the former Eagles building located 313 3rd Street NE, west of Nellie’s Bar and now they operate the food pantry for the community of Devils Lake and the Lake Region.
Plans are in the works to expand the Hope Center to one day provide temporary housing and maybe even a soup kitchen, too, for those in need in the community.
But first things first.
The greatest need for the community was a place to house the food pantry because DPCAA transitioned out of providing those services, and the Hope Center stepped into the gap to meet the needs of the community.
What can you do?
Between Monday, Oct. 13 and Sunday Nov. 9 you can drop off non-perishable food and toiletry items at either Leevers locations or make a cash donation at the register when you’re going through the check out.
Brustad said, “One hundred percent of what is given stays in the Lake Region.”
Hoffmeyer said some of the items needed at the pantry include boxed dinners, canned items, canned meat, chili, tuna and tuna helper, spaghetti noodles and sauce.
“Anything to help put a meal together,” she said.
She said toiletries are also needed, such as deodorant, diapers, toothbrushes, toothpaste, toilet paper, things like that.
Brustad said items will be “flagged” throughout both Leevers stores to assist customers who aren't sure what to buy and they will also have pre-bagged groceries available to purchase and donate.
But, Brustad stressed, the items do not have to be purchased at Leevers.
“The food products can come from anywhere — your home pantry, another store — it doesn't matter as long as it's not out of date, opened or damaged,” he said.
Brustad recalled the story of the gentleman two years ago who purchased a cart full of groceries totaling over $300 and donated all of the contents to the Stuff-A-Truck campaign.
“We're seeing more and more of that,” he said.
Brustad said he is excited the campaign is getting under way and he hopes it goes as well, if not better than in past years.
“It's something Leevers has taken very personally,” he said. “We look forward to it each year.”
A large bin will be placed in the front of each Leevers store and donations can be made any time during business hours.
“Devils Lake is so good about having benefits to help folks out when they are in need. When Stuff-A-Truck rolls around, it’s our turn to help,” Brustad said.
For more information about the Hope Center go to www.hopecenterdevilslake.com or on Facebook at /hopecenterdl or email@example.com for e-mails.