On November 14th, 2020 Cedar Springs residents Paul and Mary Hardin organized a food drive to help support the San Antonio Food Bank. This is our follow-up interview with the Hardin family.
The following article was submitted to Helotes News with permission to publish by Paul Hardin the author. His article originally appeared in the Cedar Springs newsletter.
On November 14, 2020, over 30 volunteers collected nearly one-and-a-half tons of food and other essentials for those in need. Earlier in the week, 13 volunteers had gone door-to-door, leaving fliers announcing the food drive and grocery bags at every household in Cedar Springs—502 homes.
Organized by local residents Paul and Mary Hardin, we specifically planned the food drive to help those struggling with financial losses due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mary and I work twice a week at our church’s food bank, the Bishop’s Storehouse of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. We’ve seen the number of families needing assistance growing weekly, and have wondered what more we could do to help. I then heard on the radio that some San Antonio residents were eating just a can of tuna as a meal, and it about broke my heart. That’s when the idea came to me to hold a Cedar Springs COVID-19 Food Drive.
The HOA Board quickly approved the project and put up a notice on the Cedar Springs marquees. Also, Mary posted notices on the neighborhood Facebook page to get the word out. We then began contacting our Cedar Springs friends and neighbors, having met a number of Cedar Springs residents on our daily walks. We felt confident we would have enough volunteer helpers to pull it off.
Within 24 hours of asking for help to pass out the fliers and bags, 13 people had volunteered, all from Cedar Springs. Once the announcement fliers were out, which also asked for helpers to collect the food donations, the texts and phone calls started pouring in. “Matt”, the editor and owner of The Helotes News, posted an interview he conducted with the us a few days before the drive. This helped get the word out about the drive and our need for volunteers. Some folks just wanted to help, others wanted their kids to participate in something big, and others were looking for National Honor Society (NHS) service hours. Whatever their motivation, we ended up with 30 to 40 volunteers to collect the food.
On the Monday following the food drive, one of the volunteers, “Keith”, and I drove the food down to the San Antonio Food Bank. Once donations were weighed, we learned that 2,814 pounds of food and other products had been collected. That’s an average of 5.6 pounds for every household in Cedar Springs!
A big THANK YOU to all those who donated or volunteered or assisted with the food drive in any way. Because of YOUR HELP, others will have food on their table.
Additional Follow-up Questions
Helotes News: How many of these drives have you and Mary organized before?
Paul: We helped with many food drives while living in Utah, but this is the first one we sponsored.
Helotes News: If someone is interested in organizing a food drive, where do they start?
Paul: Definitely connect first with the food bank or other distribution organization you plan to work with. Each one will provide different levels of help, so plan on being self-motivated and well-organized.
Helotes News: Do you have any tips to offer organizers?
Paul: Know WHY you are doing the food drive, WHO your distribution organization is, and WHEN you will hold it. Then COMMUNICATE IT to everyone involved.
Be well-organized; don’t waste peoples’ time; don’t be afraid to ask for volunteers—many people are longing to find meaning in their lives through service.
Before beginning, have a core group of people you know you can rely on for essential, initial help: Church or club members, extended family, co-workers, etc. ALSO, have an assistant (buddy, spouse, co-worker) to help organize and bounce ideas off of.
Think the drive ALL THE WAY THROUGH, from how you will advertise to how you will get the food to the distribution organization, and everything in between.
DON’T BE AFRAID TO DO IT! Get the help you need so you can provide help to those in need. YOU CAN DO IT! I’m happy to advise anyone who would like to try it themselves.
*Paul provided Helotes New permission to release his contact information in November to anyone who reaches out to us interested in food drives. Please use our contact form or email firstname.lastname@example.org. We will forward your email address and message to Paul with him as a BCC to maintain his privacy.
In closing, we thank the Hardin’s for sharing their story and experience with our readers. Thank you to our readers your support. We hope this last article of 2020 finds you well and hopeful for a Happy New Year!