The event will help to replenish the food pantries of several United Way of Bradley County agencies and community partners. Among those to receive food donations are the Cleveland Emergency Shelter, the Harbor Safe House, the Signal Center, Neighbors in Need, and the Boys & Girls Clubs of Cleveland.
“This food drive began not long after the bank came into existence,” said Southern Heritage Bank President Lee Stewart. “We chose the name ‘Cleveland Helping Cleveland’ because our community is so caring to those who need help, and this is just our way of helping in those efforts.”
He added, “We also chose the time just before Thanksgiving as it is a great time to be appreciative for what you have and give something back to help others not so fortunate.”
Many local industries and schools are participating in this year’s food drive. Some have been involved since the first food drive.
Companies which will be collecting food at their plants or businesses include Bender Realty, Bradley County Sheriff’s Office, Cleveland Pediatrics, Cleveland Utilities, Eaton Corporation, Hardwick Clothes, Manufacturers Chemicals and Peyton’s Southeastern.
The Cleveland Family YMCA, a United Way agency, also collects food for the drive. The Cleveland Fire Department helps load the truck located at the Southern Heritage Bank main office on Keith Street, and helps unload it at the United Way offices.
The truck to be used to house the food collected during the event is provided by Wholesale Supply Group.
Schools conducting food drives to help with the event include Charleston Elementary School, Cleveland High School, E.L. Ross Elementary School, Michigan Avenue Elementary School, North Lee Elementary School, Oak Grove Elementary School, Taylor Elementary School, Walker Valley High School, Waterville Community Elementary School and Yates Primary School.
“There is ample opportunity for other businesses and schools to be involved in the drive,” Stewart said. “The more we collect, the more people will be helped. Contact Denise DeArmond at the bank, and she will give you all the details.”
Matt Ryerson, United Way of Bradley County president and CEO, said he has heard from several of the agencies which receive food from the drive, and it makes a big difference in how they provide their services. Some, he said, indicate this gives them enough food to last through several months of the year.
“We love the name ‘Cleveland Helping Cleveland’ because it represents what we do at the United Way,” Ryerson said. “We raise money, food, volunteers and services in our community, to serve people in our community.”
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 Walmart), and the Georgetown office at the intersection of Georgetown Road and Villa Drive.
The food drive culminates with a special dropoff event Nov. 15, at the bank’s main office.
“On Friday, Nov. 15, 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 timely opportunity 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.
Only nonperishable items should be donated during the food drive. Organizers ask that no glass items be donated to ensure safety in transporting the items.
Organizers also remind donors 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. Items that are especially needed 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.
Contact Denise DeArmond at Southern Heritage Bank at 303-1732 for additional information.