Jail-themed drive rakes in nearly 7 tons of food

Posted: Sunday, November 21, 2010

Many extra mouths will be fed this Thanksgiving thanks to some charitable efforts Friday at the Alaskan & Proud grocery store. The Southeast Alaska Food Bank and Juneau Radio Center raised 13,747 pounds of food at its jail-themed food drive.

Michael Penn /  Juneau Empire
Michael Penn / Juneau Empire

Volunteers kept the makeshift cell hopping for 12 hours as shoppers filled carts with donations. Food Bank manager Darren Adams said the food goes out to about 30 nonprofit agencies plus individuals who need help.

"This is to help those who need some food for the holiday season," he said.

The jail theme transformed the drive into a fun, family event. Children were delighted to see Santa so early while local noteables - such as police and fire officials, business leaders, coaches and others - stood behind bars to help solicit the edible inputs. Adams said the whole combination helped get more people in the community involved.

Adams said the donation flow was good and steady throughout the day, really picking up in the afternoon.

"We've done amazing considering the economy," he said. "The way the economy is, we can't ask for more."

Andrea Wilt of advertising sales for the Juneau Radio Center said the stations' roles came into play before and during the event. The radio stations promoted the food drive and aiding in sponsorship with different businesses. Adams said they did a tremendous job in their efforts.

"A lot of businesses we've gone to are supporting this with commercial time and promoting it themselves," said Wilt.

During the drive, radio personnel were there the whole time, drawing people in and helping out while broadcasting the entire event.

"On behalf of the radio center, we'd like to say thank you not only to businesses but to everyone who's come by and helped. It's amazing how much everyone's supported in this community," said Wilt.

Adams said First Student also lent a hand by providing a bus and labor.

Adams said those who wish to donate further to the Food Bank should call 789-6184 or 209-7801.

"It's great we're having this drive today but need to keep in mind hunger exists year-round, but Juneau has been very generous to those who are less fortunate," he said.

• Contact reporter Jonathan Grass at 523-2276 or at jonathan.grass@juneauempire.com.

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