Christmas for Waterville Baptist Church came at the first of March this year, with Cleveland's two Food City food stores playing Santa Claus.The church's Care and Compassion Food Bank was once again …
Christmas for Waterville Baptist Church came at the first of March this year, with Cleveland's two Food City food stores playing Santa Claus.
The church's Care and Compassion Food Bank was once again the recipient of Food City's collections from the local Share Your Christmas promotion, as it has been for the past eight years.
Food City stores in other communities also participate in the Share Your Christmas promotion, with proceeds from those holiday collections given to community efforts in their respective neighborhoods.
"We've held this fundraiser for 30 or more years, but the money raised once went to worthwhile efforts outside of Cleveland," said Cochran. "We eventually decided that the money raised here should stay here in our community."
That was when the in-store collection was designated for the Waterville Baptist Food Bank. It was also about the time the South Cleveland food bank got started.
Kay Houk, who directs the operation of Waterville Baptist's food bank, said it is an effort by the church to assist people in need in the local community.
There is an application process for people to fill out, to qualify as recipients at the food bank.
Bags of food are distributed on the third Monday of every month. In addition to the bag of grocery items, much of it purchased with the Food City coupons, the recipients also receive coupons for milk and bread.
Houk and Waterville Baptist minister the Rev. Coby Goins said the food bank assists 60 to 80 families every month.
They said the food bank, and the involvement by Food City, are very much appreciated in the community.
Cochran explained that the Share Your Christmas collections are held before the Christmas and New Year's holidays. Food City customers can donate to the fund when they check out, designating anything from $1 on up.
The South Food Store manager said there is also a little friendly competition among the store's check-out clerks to see who can collect the most money for the fund. The winning clerks also receive small tokens for their efforts.
Cochran and Hozouri said the two local food stores have probably collected more than $250,000 over the 30 years they have participated in the Share Your Christmas drive.
Waterville Baptist, its food bank, and its members said they are appreciative of the assistance, and food coupons for the less fortunate in the community.
The $16,915 collected this past holiday season was a very welcomed March Christmas gift, Goins exclaimed.
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