Those wishing to receive food for the holidays through the William Hall Rodgers basket fund will need to register Monday, at the Museum Center at Five Points.Registration to receive food will be from …
Those wishing to receive food for the holidays through the William Hall Rodgers basket fund will need to register Monday, at the Museum Center at Five Points.
Registration to receive food will be from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday, according to Horace Coffey, a program volunteer for over 40 years. This year, United Way of the Ocoee Region will be assisting in the registration, receiving food and donations, and distribution of the baskets.
"I remember when we started with the William Hall Rodgers program in 1976, and our goal was $6,000 and we were able to distribute about 60 baskets," Coffey said. "Our hope this year is to give out about 1,000 baskets, which would be close to our record of 1,100."
James Vassell, lead impact with United Way, said that he is pleased to see the organization work with the William Hall Rodgers program to help those in need this holiday season.
"We are not trying to change the successful program this year, but help them reach their goal," he said. "Last year, the program was able to distribute just over 700 baskets, and we hope for 1,000 this year."
He said that the United Way will have its LINC young professionals group, those involved with the organization between the ages of 21 to 40, helping "and they seem very excited to be involved, and help the community."
To provide the food, donations are necessary and can be made through the United Way, or dropped off/pledged at First Tennessee Bank's office on Keith Street, located next to Chick-fil-A and Food City's Ocoee Crossing store.
The goal for the year is $26,000.
The first two donations for this year's basket fund have been made, one for $50 from the Auxiliary 2598 Veterans of Foreign Wars, and $200 from Wayne and Leslie Stinnett. Those who make donations will be listed in the Cleveland Daily Banner once provided by First Tennessee Bank, much in the fashion they have been announced in the past.
"We know that individuals and companies don't make donations to get their names in the paper, but to help those in need," Coffey said. "But, this is our way to let other know that donations are being made, by whom, and that they can get involved, too."
Vassell said that some of the food donated through the Southern Heritage Bank's "Cleveland Helping Cleveland" will be given to the basket fund (most goes to the Caring Place), and the donations received for the baskets will be used to purchase food, at cost or lower, at Cooke's Food Store. Cooke's has been a long-time contributor to the William Hall Rodgers basket program.
The Bradley Central High School football team will again help pack the baskets. Coffey said that the players get a lot of pleasure from helping, and coach Damon Floyd has been a supporter of the William Hall Rodgers basket program for years.
Food that will be distributed will include canned items and those in plastic containers, all unopened. Pasta and other non-perishable items will also be included in the baskets.
Plus, this year, those receiving the baskets will receive both a hen and canned ham.
One new twist to the registration is that there will be Spanish translators at the Museum Center on Monday. "That way, we can have even more people benefit from the program," Vassell said.
The baskets, which will actually be cardboard boxes, will be packed on Dec. 15, and distributed on Dec. 16 at Tri-State Warehouse on Urbane Road. Also, Grace Point Baptist Church will help deliver baskets on Dec. 16 to those who are unable to pick up the items at the warehouse.
Organizers want to emphasize that in order to receive the baskets this year, registration is necessary.
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