COLUMBIA — For Tammy Knott, volunteering to collect money for a holiday food drive was a meaningful substitute for exchanging gifts with colleagues in her office.
Knott and 11 other employees from the accounting firm Gerding, Korte & Chitwood volunteered for Mayor Bob McDavid’s “Million Pounds Challenge” in lieu of a holiday office party. This was the firm’s first time volunteering for the food drive, but it has worked with The Food Bank before.
This was the second year McDavid issued the challenge.
The donations from this challenge will go to the The Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri. The challenge began Nov. 1 and ended at 6 p.m. Tuesday. At the end of the drive, McDavid joined the volunteers at the collection site at Providence Road and Broadway.
By the end of Tuesday's collection, the drive had met and surpassed McDavid's challenge.
According to Peggy Kirkpatrick, executive director of The Food Bank, 1,088,514 pounds of combined nonperishable food and money had been received.
The poundage was calculated by equating each dollar to 15 pounds of food. The breakdown was 38,899 pounds of actual food products and $69,975.
Amy Watson, a volunteer from Gerding, Korte & Chitwood, said, “People have been very generous and friendly.”
In the two hours firm employees volunteered, they were able to collect approximately $2,200.
Inside Columbia Magazine, Columbia firefighters, Zimmer Radio Group and many individual volunteers were also helping with the collection.
According to Kirkpatrick, the food drive was important for various reasons. In the past four years, there has been a 63 percent increase per month of people needing help with food. In November alone, 13,000 Columbia residents required food assistance.
Donors flocked to the collection site on the last day of the drive.
Jim Pellock, president and general manager of Precision Construction Services Inc., dropped off a $6,400 check from the company.
Pellock said that each holiday season the company picks a charity to receive a donation. This year, officials at the company chose The Food Bank.
“Food banks and other charities do the most with their money when they are at the local level, not that national organizations are bad,” Pellock said. “We chose The Food Bank this year because of how much food is a necessity.”
Pellock brought the check to the dropoff Tuesday to help the mayor meet his challenge goal.
For Margaret Roberts, the drive was a cause close to her heart.
Roberts brought her two daughters to drop off a donation after hearing about the food drive on Clear 99, the radio station.
“I’ve gone to the food bank before so I’m giving back now that I can,” Roberts said.
Supervising editor is Emilie Stigliani.