BOUNTIFUL – An outpouring of food and other donations from the community will help make Christmas cheer possible for many less fortunate South Davis residents.
People can still donate, including at the giant Mayflower semi-trailer parked in front of Murdock Chevrolet in Woods Cross.
Major donations include $1,500 from by the Bountiful Main Street Merchants Association from its annual Breakfast with Santa at the Wight House, to more than 4,000 pounds of food collected by the Bountiful Rotary’s Interact Club at Bountiful and Woods Cross High Schools.
Lorna Koci, executive director at the Bountiful Food Pantry, is grateful for every donation, whether its a few pounds from a local family or business or contributions of thousands of pounds of food.
It’s all part of the annual Christmastime outpouring that sees so many Davis County folks giving to those in need.
“That’s why we do the Breakfast with Santa,” to support the pantry, said Mike Murphy, president of the merchants’ association.
“We had a good turnout, had a lot of fun. Everybody was just ecstatic. The food was great (prepared and served by Wight House staff), with lots of activities for the kids,” he said.
“All of the kids came away with an armload of stuff,” Murphy said. The kids also enjoyed the face painting and fishpond.
Bountiful High School Interact Club president Shannon Engbertson said she learned so much from involvement in the food drive that she may pursue a career in professionally giving back via work at a nonprofit.
Food was donated not only by Bountiful High students but also many of the schools that feed into it, Engbertson said.
“While I was doing it I was so stressed. It took a toll on me,” but in the end was well worth it, the high school senior said.
Usually the PTA had spearheaded the project but Bountiful High Principal Greg Wilkey wanted the students to handle it this year.
“I have about 50 kids who come regularly” at Bountiful High, said Club adviser Jan Wray. About 40 are involved in the new Woods Cross High School club.
The club also completed a Sub for Santa.
Many businesses held campaigns where customers could get actively involved.
For example, Rumbi Island Grill in Bountiful gave $7 food certificates to customers who brought in two cans of food during November. They collected nearly 1,600 pounds of food.
Some groups and individuals donate with no desire to get notoriety.
For example, a South Davis pre-school donated more than 2,700 pounds, but said they want to remain anonymous.
Another area resident ran a campaign that collected more than 3,600 pounds of food.
“The truck is about half full, probably with between 5,000 and 6,000 pounds of food,” said Brenda Hunsaker, controller of the Murdock Chevrolet campaign.
The semi’s been there since mid-November, but people can donate food items through Saturday, Dec. 22, she said.
“(Murdock owner) K.O. just really wanted to do something in the community,” Hunsaker said.
“We rely on the holiday food drives and holiday donations to get our nonperishable food that lasts until the Boy Scout drive in March,” said Koci.
The pantry gives out about 2.2 million lbs. of food, nearly half from community donations and most of the rest from the grocery rescue program. That provides fruits, vegetables and bread/baked goods.
“We are so grateful for the tremendous support we receive from the community to help support our neighbors in need,” Koci said.
About half of the pantry’s patrons take advantage of food from there for three months or less. The goal is to promote self-sufficiency, including helping people in need find jobs, Koci said.