Year’s end often leads us to reflect back over the last twelve months with an analytical eye. We celebrate our achievements and hopefully learn from our miscues as we plan for the upcoming year. The generous financial support of the Mason community, the many, many hours of volunteer work performed by county residents, and a desire on the part of many to simply serve others, have all combined to give the Mason Food Bank much to celebrate at year’s end.
Gone are the days when the Mason Food Bank, like many other food banks, distributed only food. Add to food the following - children’s vitamins, fresh produce, clothing, children’s books, accessibility to adult books in English and Spanish, prayer, health screening, and a few hugs. We have also introduced the Mason Food Bank Lottery! No gambling - just a fun way for the food recipients to receive a little extra on their day, thanks to the generous contributors to the various food drives held throughout the year.
Mason County is no different from the rest of the nation in terms of increased need by a segment of our population. Our numbers increase steadily, month to month, so that we are now serving, on average, one hundred families, or approximately 300 individuals each distribution period. The ages of those served ranges from new-born to 90+. We continue to purchase canned goods processed with limited sugar and salt for those with health concerns. We have modified our client information forms so that we are now better stewards of the contributions we receive.
No end-of-year report would be complete without an attempt to thank the many, many folks whose efforts and whose generosity have made possible the many achievements of the Mason Food Bank this past year. As in the past, and as it will always be in the future, those wishing to contribute monetarily to the Mason Food Bank should make checks payable to the Mason County Ministerial Alliance, a 501(c)(3), POB 690, Mason, TX. Our purchased food would sit, undisturbed, on the shelves if it were not for the hard work of the numerous volunteers who come from various churches in Mason County to distribute the food each month. Fresh produce was contributed by Buena Tierra in Fredonia and by various green-thumb gardeners in the area. Eggs came from generous folks on the North Side. Children’s books were made available through collaborative efforts of the M. Beven Eckert Memorial Library, the Library Board and anonymous donors. Children’s vitamins were purchased by anonymous donors. Food drives are conducted throughout the year by groups such as 4H, HOP Transit System, Red Hat Club, local churches, Cancer Walk, elementary school classes. Thanks for a very recent donation from CTEC. Our sincere thanks to several local cattlemen who donated processed beef. Thanks to the Mason Chamber of Commerce for sharing with us. Thanks to Lowe’s Market for a discount on purchased items. Thanks to the out-of-towners who party out on the Llano. Thanks to Topaz Confections for the sweets.
Thanks to the strong-backed men who unload the food trucks from San Angelo. Thanks to those who purchase food in bulk and take the time and effort to repackage for our use. Thanks to those who leave food and other items at the food bank anonymously - it’s always a nice surprise! The November food boxes included a large casserole prepared by the Blue Ribbon Service Day Students from Mason High School. This list of thank-you’s would be terribly incomplete without a sincere thank-you to Scott Zesch and his volunteers at Community Kitchen. Each month during the school year, Scott and his cooks prepare approximately 150-190 frozen casseroles each month at the school cafeteria kitchen. These casseroles provide a welcome “home-made” addition to the food boxes.
The above list is probably incomplete and for this we apologize. But know that all support, whether monetary or otherwise has been greatly appreciated this year. We have great plans for 2014 and would love to have you join us in our efforts to “offer a hand up, not a hand out”.