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— Standing behind a bright green barrel, Benton County Sheriff Keith Ferguson officially kicked off the sheriff’s annual holiday food drive Monday.

The goal of the second annual food drive is to repeatedly fill several of the green barrels that will be placed around the county in hopes of helping area families put a good meal on the table during the holidays, Ferguson said.

“Last year, you guys (raised) 5,000 pounds and some money, and you have no idea how much that helps people,” said Marge Wolf, director of the Northwest Arkansas Food Bank. “There are a million things I could say right now, but not one I can think of other than thank you.”

Each time the barrels fill, a team of deputies and inmates from the county jail will take the items to the food bank, where they will be given to area food pantries throughout the holiday season.

“Nobody want to see anybody hungry, no matter what situation you are in yourself. Even if you are hungry, you do not want to see the guy next to you go hungry,” Wolf said.

Beginning Monday, the green barrels will be placed at the following locations:

• Marvin’s grocery store in Gravette;

• Marvin’s IGA in Pea Ridge;

• Ozark Fence Co. in Rogers;

• Catfish John’s in Rogers; and

• Sunny and Hair Beauty Salon in Avoca.

Additional locations for donations will be announced at a later date.

The annual food drive “is an excellent way for us to give back, and it shows people a different side of law enforcement,” Pea Ridge Chief of Police Tim Ledbetter said.

Some of the items the drive hopes to net include cranberry sauce, canned gravy, canned fruits and vegetables, and boxed mashed potatoes and dressing.

John Wells, owner of Catfish John’s in Rogers, thought about why helping the Sheriff’s Office with the annual food drive is important to him.

“When you think about it, you and your family are sitting around at Christmas or Thanksgiving, and you are in your warm house and maybe you have a new Christmas tree with all the presents, and you have a table full of food and you wonder how you are going to eat it all, while there are people who do not even have a meal on Thanksgiving,” Wells said.

Whitey Smith of Rogers, who owns Ozark Fence Co., said it best: “It does not matter what you give. Just give.”

News, Pages 1 on 10/14/2009

Print Headline: Sheriff’s Office kicks off food drive

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