The Oskaloosa Rotary Club is teaming up with several organizations and individuals to give needy families in Mahaska County a traditional Christmas dinner.
Fund-raising is underway to purchase food for the baskets.
“We need to raise between $17,000 and $18,000 to maintain the level of service,” said Andy Glover, the Oskaloosa Rotary Club member who chairs the committee to organize the food drive. “We solicit businesses and the community. Anybody can give.”
The food basket program is open to any Mahaska County resident, but most recipients are in Oskaloosa, Glover said. An application form was published in The Oskaloosa Herald, he added.
“People can fill out an application and send it in,” Glover said. “We'll get about 600 applications or a little over.”
Glover said he expects to have more applications this year than this past year. It seems to trend that way during the past three years the Rotary Club has sponsored the food basket drive.
The Rotary Club works with the Board of Realtors, the Oskaloosa Middle School Student Council, the Oskaloosa High School National Honor Society, the Human Services Resource Council and some individuals, Glover said.
Glover emphasized that the food basket program is entirely voluntary.
“It's absolutely funded by contributions,” he said. “All of the effort to do it is volunteer effort.”
If people want to contribute to the program, they can send a check to the Oskaloosa Rotary Club, P.O. Box 222, Oskaloosa, IA 52577.
“We're always looking for volunteers,” Glover said. “We never turn anybody away if they want to help.”
Glover said the most work volunteers do is organizing the food baskets, which provide the fixings for a traditional Christmas dinner.
“We give out about 600 food baskets in a couple of hours,” he said. “We deliver on a limited basis to home-bound or disabled people.”
The Christmas Food Basket distribution will be held at 8 a.m. on Dec. 14 at Central United Methodist Church.
Herald Editor Duane Nollen can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org