ARLINGTON — The Arlington Community Food Bank was literally singing with holiday cheer on Friday, Dec. 21, 2012. Richard Daniels’ guitar-strumming and crooning lent a festive musical accompaniment to volunteers from the Lifeway Foursquare Church and the Rocket Alley Bar & Grill serving meals to Food Bank clients while they waited in line outside to pick up their Christmas meal baskets inside.
“We’re already here outside the Food Bank on the last Tuesday of every month, but this is a unique day for us,” said Pastor Chad Blood of the Lifeway Foursquare Church. “We must have served several hundred bowls of soup.”
Blood sees the number of Arlington residents who need to rely upon resources such as the Food Bank during the holidays as evidence that people aren’t doing enough to help each other out throughout the rest of the year.
“We should recognize that Christmas is about the responsibility of giving of ourselves,” Blood said. “We need to make a concentrated effort to take care of people. Our church doesn’t ask people to go through a door. Instead, we go to where people are at. I love that this season refocuses our priorities on where they need to be, but too many people are hurting and in need for this not to be important to us every day beyond Christmas.”
Steve Saunders, owner of the Rocket Alley Bar & Grill, joked “my face turned purple” when he was asked if he could make soup for 500 people, but he soon realized that “I’d just been waiting for someone to ask me to help the Food Bank all along. Arlington’s been great to me, so I think I’ll be a fixture at these events.”
The Arlington High School DECA students were singled out for praise by Food Bank volunteers for beating the total donations generated by this year’s “Santa Run,” since the Arlington firefighters collected approximately 5,800 pounds of food, while the AHS DECA students delivered an estimated 6,500 pounds of food on Dec. 21, that they’d begun taking in shortly before Thanksgiving and finished gathering on Friday, Dec. 14.
“We had a lot more freshman involvement this year, since this is the largest freshman class we’ve had in a while,” said Erick Simpson, himself a freshman DECA student. “They say kids can’t do much, but we can still help, and this is the proof.”
Sue Keezer of the Arlington Community Food Bank added that an unexpected last-minute donation of 1,000 pounds of ham from the employees of the Angel of the Winds Casino allowed the Food Bank to meet its meat needs for all 350 of its Christmas meal baskets, which she doubts the Food Bank would have been able to fill otherwise.
“We’re glad to have such a giving community that’s so supportive of others in need,” Keezer said. “Especially since the need is even greater this year.”