Volunteers Donovan Fulkerson, left, and Chris LaDuca help during Harvest Ministries’ annual food drive in front of Walmart, Saturday. (Vanessa Kahin Photo)
It’s all about drive — to rid those in the area, especially children, of needless hunger; to show what a rallied community can do; and for believers to fulfill what they feel is asked of them.
It’s also Harvest Ministries’ annual food drive, one so significant and ambitious it attracted Mayor Del Jurney this year.
The food drive took place in front of Sam’s Club and Walmart, Friday and Saturday. Pastor Phil “Rubie” Rubinstein said the stores are major supporters of the food bank, which helps feed 40,000 people in Chaves, Eddy and Lincoln counties through partnerships with about 25 other ministries.
“We are trying to fill a semi-trailer … full of food,” Rubinstein said. He said last year the food drive, which only lasted one day, helped collect 9,000 pounds of food.
“We’re hoping to collect at least double that, and as much as the good Lord will bring in,” Rubinstein said.
Jurney commended the efforts of Harvest Ministries during a visit with the volunteers Saturday. He said volunteers with Harvest Ministries “take it upon themselves to make sure that those who suffer … are taken care of.”
Jurney said having a food drive just outside of Sam’s Club and Walmart allows the community to collaborate with Harvest Ministries, so that they may “continue to (assist) those who need it most.”
Volunteers from Gateway Christian School, New Mexico Military Institute, Christ’s Church, Walmart, Sam’s Club and Grace Community Church stood in front of the stores, helping to collect food and monetary donations.
Armed with cardboard boxes, informational pamphlets and big smiles, volunteers from Gateway Christian School stood ready and waiting in front of Sam’s Club Friday morning.
Ayrin Meeks, 17, said the Harvest Ministries food drive is one way in which Gateway Christian School’s Class of 2012 gives back to the community.
“We help two times a year … as a class,” Meeks said. She said she has personally known people who struggle to buy food due to medical issues that prevent them from working.
Meeks said she loves volunteering for Harvest Ministries.
“They’re helping the children in our community who need food,” she said.
Caleb Pack, a young music and Bible instructor at Gateway Christian School, also helped Friday.
“I think it’s something that we’re called to do as Christians,” Pack said of volunteering and striving to rid the community of hunger. The box the volunteers used to accept monetary donations had a sign taped on, with the words from Matthew 25:35: “For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat.”
“In a sense, it’s like giving to God because that’s what He’s called us to do,” Pack said. “It’s like a blessing to Him.”