Wednesday is the deadline to sign up for free food boxes filled with Thanksgiving goodies from the Community Holiday Food Drive.
Area residents in need can fill out a food box application at Community Services Consortium, the Vina Moses Center and all food pantries in Benton County.
People are eligible if they are currently participating in the food stamp program (SNAP), TANF, SSI, LIEAP or the State General Assistance Program or meet the USDA income guidelines. People also may be referred by a local church or social service agency.
Approximately 45,000 pounds of food is expected to be distributed this year to 4,400 needy individuals, almost half of them children, according to food drive organizer Judy Gibson.
Holiday food boxes will be available for pickup Monday in Guerber Hall at the Benton County Fairgrounds, 110 S.W. 53rd St.
The goal is for each box to have everything needed for a traditional Thanksgiving dinner, including a chicken or turkey, potatoes, stuffing mix, cranberry sauce, canned vegetables, cake mix and pumpkin pie filling. Also included are flour, sugar and everyday staples such as tuna and peanut butter.
“It’s a big box of food,” Gibson said. “It kind of goes beyond Thanksgiving, hopefully.”
Organizers are still collecting donations of canned goods, boxed foods and fresh seasonal vegetables such as potatoes, Gibson said. Monetary contributions are also needed to cover the cost of turkeys, eggs and other perishables.
Donations can be brought to Gibson at the Coldwell Banker Valley Brokers office, 1109 N.W. Ninth St. Checks should be made out to Community Holiday Food Drive.
To arrange a delivery time for a large food donation or for more information, call Gibson at 541-740-8938.