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THE officials and employees of Faurecia’s Columbus operations have made a significant contribution to one of the programs that provide sustenance to disadvantaged families and individuals in Bartholomew County.
So far this month, the workers at the local auto parts maker (one of the last local ties to the original Arvin Industries Inc.) have collected more than 6,500 pounds of food to be donated to the Love Chapel food pantry.
The local campaign is part of a company-wide effort in which employees at more than 40 North American sites have already collected more than 170,000 pounds of food — the materials to be given to food pantries at each of the company locations.
The numbers are certainly impressive, but they represent only a fraction of the need that exists here and across the country. In other words, the Faurecia team cannot resolve this issue on its own.
The situation in Bartholomew County has always been acute and has grown even more critical in recent weeks.
A major factor that has changed conditions locally has been the recent closure of the food pantry operated by Human Services Inc.
That closure has had an impact on the remaining pantries. Love Chapel, for instance, has already seen its caseload expand by about 100 over the past month. Today the Ecumenical Assembly-sponsored operation is seeing about 800 clients per month.
A pantry operated by the Salvation Army has received requests for help from an additional 123 families since the closing of the Human Services pantry. A smaller demand has been reported by the Community Center of Hope, which opens its pantry a half-day each week.
All of these pantries are dependent to varying degrees upon the generosity of the public. Locally, the community has repeatedly demonstrated its willingness to support these organizations, especially when made aware of critical situations.
While many individuals and families make significant donations of materials and money, organized campaigns such as that being conducted among the Faurecia workers can provide a tremendous stimulus for other institutions to conduct their own campaigns.
It is certainly not a new practice. Local schools hold annual food drives along with civic organizations and other businesses. The Columbus post office (with peer organizations around the country) collects food left by patrons at their mailboxes.
The process is invariably fairly simple and can be enhanced by spirited competitions within contributing organizations. At Faurecia, the Columbus Tech Center operation has already collected 3,844 pounds, approximately 93 percent of its 4,140 pound goal. Workers at the company’s Gladstone facility have chipped in with an equally admirable 2,760 pounds.
Because of their importance, these food drives should not be approached as annual events but ongoing practices to ensure that local food pantries never have to turn away those in need.
Fortunately, the individuals and institutions of this community have repeatedly shown they are up to the task, regardless of the increase in those needing help.
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