Turkey Day at food bank

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

A whole turkey or chicken, depending on the size of the family. Sweet potatoes, corn, green beans, pie filling or cake mix, canned milk, pecans and brown sugar.

On Friday, volunteers at Wildflowers Christian Outreach Ministry filled the shelves of more than a hundred households at the annual Thanksgiving food bank giveaway.

"They get all the makings for a delicious Thanksgiving dinner," said Levi Mock, who was passing out turkeys and sacks of food to people as they came past his table.

The food was donated or purchased with donations from the community and area businesses, according to Tina Lewis, food bank coordinator. Tyson gave 160 whole chickens. Wal-Mart provided a $200 gift certificate to buy turkeys, plus its regular twice weekly donation of fresh produce, bread and pastries. W.T.Focker's gave canned goods, and Hart's gave Wildflower a special price on turkey rolls. Frozen turkeys were purchased at the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank with donations from Jordan Maxfield and others, Lewis said.

"It is because of people's generosity and giving hearts that we are able to meet the need," she said.

The meeting room of the church serves as the food bank, which Rocky and Annie Whitely founded as the first Wildflowers ministry 18 years ago. Volunteers, many of whom are not church members, staff the thrift store and a furniture bank on the property, which is on Highway 62 east of Eureka Springs. Wildflowers members are currently working on funding for a battered women's shelter.

"Every penny that comes into this church goes right out into the community," Lewis said.

No one gets paid, Lewis said; everyone is a volunteer. On Friday, they included Corrie Riddler, a 2010 Eureka Springs High School graduate, and Mock, who has worked at the food bank twice a week since he was 12. Mock, who was home-schooled, said he has seen the number of people who use the food bank get larger every year. Lewis said it takes her six months to stock the food bank shelves for the Thanksgiving and Christmas food giveaways.

"The harder times get, the harder we get hit," she said.

For more information, go to www.wildflowerschristianministry.com or call 479-253-5108.

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