City vs county food drive is win-win

Published 5:30 pm Saturday, December 18, 2010

Jeff Weaver, solid waste manager with the county, places a pallet of food on a Salvation Army truck Friday at the county recycling center. City employees topped the county in the annual holiday food drive. - Jason Schoonover/

The city and county competed to a win-win finish Friday.

Though city employees will note they beat the county’s employees in the annual contest to raise the most food for the Salvation Army’s holiday food drive, neither side saw the efforts as a loss.

“There’s no losers here,” said Daryl Gullickson, who works in county maintenance. “The winners are going to be the hungry people.”

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The city won for the 11th time since 1993. The county’s 243 employees raised more food with 1,476 pounds, but the city won as 144 employees raised 1,251 pounds. The winner is determined by pounds per employees. The city’s 8.69 pounds per employee topped the county’s 6.07 pounds per employee.

Plenty of banter and joking is exchanged at the annual weigh-in at the county recycling center. City employees typically joke that they attend to watch solid waste manager Jeff Weaver weigh the food so he doesn’t tip the scale in the county’s favor.

“The massacred us again,” Weaver said jokingly as he finished weighing the food.

The combined 2,727 pounds of food topped last year’s total, and raised the grand total to 34,432 pounds since 1993 — more than 17 tons.

“It goes for a worthy cause, so you really can’t say you’re a loser,” Gullickson said. “When you collect 17 tons of food, it’s well worth it.”

Gullickson said he remembers receiving toys from the Salvation Army as a boy. For many years, he has volunteered to take money from county employees and go buy the food for them.

“Its payback for me, and it goes to people who really need it,” he said.

With the street department still busy plowing roads, the fire department chipped in to deliver food from the city offices to the recycling center.

The Salvation Army will put the food to good use.

“There’s a real demand for it right now,” said William Clennon, Salvation Army Thrift Store manager.

Like in recent years, demand at the food shelf is high, and Clennon said the food shelf is depleted quickly. While the public has made generous donations, Clennon noted there’s always room for more donations and more volunteers.