The bank will once again show its community spirit by conducting the “Cleveland Helping Cleveland” food drive. The event is planned for Nov. 5-9, and will help replenish the food pantries of several United Way of Bradley County agencies and partners.
This will be the 14th time that Southern Heritage Bank has sponsored this event.
“When we started our food drive, we wanted to do something to get the community involved in helping others, and named it ‘Cleveland Helping Cleveland’,” remembers Southern Heritage Bank President Lee Stewart. “We chose the time just before Thanksgiving, as it is a great time to be appreciative for what you have and give back something to help others not so fortunate.”
When it first began, a few local companies became involved with the bank to collect the food items. That has grown to include several local businesses and industries, as well as many local schools.“Eight local companies have joined with us this year as part of the food drive, for which we are very thankful,” Stewart said. “We also have nine schools involved in the event, which may be the most we have had participate in one year.”
These local companies, schools, and other organizations are involved in the collection of nonperishable food to benefit several United Way of Bradley County agencies’ pantries and clients.
Companies, along with Southern Heritage Bank, involved in this year’s drive are: Bender Realty, the Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Century 21 Realtors, the Cleveland Fire Department, Cleveland Family YMCA, Cleveland Utilities, Eaton Electrical and Peyton’s Southeastern.
Also, schools conducting food drives to help with this event include: Charleston Elementary School, Cleveland High School, Mayfield Elementary School, Michigan Avenue Elementary School, Oak Grove Elementary School, Park View Elementary School, Walker Valley High School, Waterville Community Elementary School, and Yates Primary School.
“There is opportunity for others to be involved in the drive,” Stewart said. “Contact Denise DeArmond at the bank, and she will give you all the details.”
Stewart said it is always rewarding to see so many schools involved in the event. “It reflects well on what great school systems we have, what great teachers and administrators we have in our local systems, parents and, of course, the students who take time to help us in this special event,” he said.
Examples of United Way agencies that will receive food include the Cleveland Emergency Shelter, the Harbor Safe House, Hiwassee Mental Health Center, Signal Center, Neighbors in Need, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland. The United Way partner entitled the Sack Pack Program (conducted through the Caring Place) will also receive donated food that is appropriate to add to students’ backpacks.
Matt Ryerson, United Way of Bradley County president and CEO, said he has heard from several of the agencies receiving food from the drive, and it makes a big difference in how they provide their services.
“The Harbor Safe House, which is a safe house for victims of spousal abuse, receives food from the event, and I have heard from them that this food helps them stock their pantry with enough food to get them through many months of the year,” he said. “That allows the agency to utilize funds for other necessities for their clients.”
DeArmond added that food may also be dropped off during that week at any of the bank’s three offices: the main office on Keith Street; the Waterville Springs Office on Dalton Pike at Treasury Lane (near Wal-mart); and the Georgetown office at the intersection of Georgetown Road and Villa Drive.
The food drive culminates with a special drop-off event on Friday, Nov. 9, at the bank’s main office.
“On Friday, Nov. 9, we will be in our parking lot at our Keith Street main office accepting any food that you might want to drive by and drop off,” she said. DeArmond added that WCLE Radio will be at the bank that day helping collect the food, and photographs from the event will be published in the Cleveland Daily Banner, so that day will be a great time to bring food to the main office.
DeArmond also added that monetary donations may be made during the event. Checks should be made payable to United Way of Bradley County.
A trailer which will house the food collected during the event, provided by Wholesale Supply Group, will be located at the Southern Heritage Bank main office.
Only nonperishable items should be donated during the food drive. Organizers ask that no glass items be donated, so as to ensure safety in transporting the items.
Organizers remind everyone that while the drive is being held two weeks before Thanksgiving, food donated should not be limited to holiday items but should include everyday food staples. Especially needed foods include canned vegetables and fruit, soups, rice, beans, canned tuna and chicken, macaroni and cheese, cereal and peanut butter.
Other items such as soap, shampoo and personal necessities may also be donated, as several United Way agencies will have uses for them also. Organizers ask that donors try to separate these items from food items when dropping off donations.
If you would like to find out more about the food drive, contact DeArmond at Southern Heritage Bank at 303-1732.