By RORYE O’CONNOR
MT. VERNON — —
The Jefferson County Ministerial Association is getting the word out — the Christmas Food Baskets program will bring turkeys and other food to families in need once more.
Gene Tucker, one of the event organizers, said fewer people were served last year than in previous years, but said he doesn’t think the need has decreased — instead, he said he believed organizers had trouble letting the public know the program is available.
Tucker said last year more than 700 families received food baskets with turkeys, canned vegetables, potatoes, milk and bread.
“The baskets are tailored to the size of the household,” he said. “If there are four or less, the family will receive a basic basket. If they are a larger family, we will put more things in them.”
Registration for the Christmas Food Basket program, formerly known as Christmas for the needy, will take place at Trinity Episcopal Church, 1100 Harrison St., Mt. Vernon.
Sign up will be held from 1 to 4 p.m. Monday, Oct. 29, Wednesday, Oct. 31, and Friday, Nov. 2; it will be held from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Nov. 3.
Tucker said volunteers are integral to the program’s success.
“The volunteers come and pack the baskets, and then they go around the county to deliver them,” he said, adding that about 200 volunteers pack and deliver the food.
All food baskets will be delivered Dec. 14, information states. To qualify for the Christmas Food Basket program, applicants will need a photo ID and proof of income, which Tucker said could be a Link Card, Social Security income statement, or a check stub.
Tucker said the entire program is funded through donations. He said organizers will begin making appeals to the public starting in late October. Donations to the Christmas Food Baskets program are tax deductible and may be send to Jefferson County Ministerial Association, P.O. Box 575, Mt. Vernon, IL 62864. He said “Christmas Food Baskets” should be written on the memo line of donation checks.