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Five Loaves Food Shelf Board Chairman Chet McCarty (center) and a group of volunteers help carry in a food delivery from the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce’s Food Drive Kick Off event on Wednesday, Nov. 20. (Photo by Jordan Willi)

Food Drive Kick Off a huge success

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For the second year in a row, the New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce put on its Food Drive Kick Off event and was able to collect more than 3,400 pounds of food, as well as $736 to help the Five Loaves Food Shelf in New Richmond.

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“This is the second year the chamber has collected food on our behalf and I’m speechless after seeing how much food was brought in,” said Five Loaves volunteer Tia Bismonte. “I didn’t think it was going to be as much as it was when they brought it in, but the communities’ generosity is just overwhelming.”

The drive began on Nov. 4, with a kickoff party at Westfields Hospital and went through Wednesday, Nov. 20, when a group of chamber members went around the city to collect the food items donated by 20 businesses in the New Richmond area.

“The food drive was an overwhelming success with more than 3,400 pounds of food and household items donated by New Richmond area businesses,” said New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Lisa Woletz. “In addition to the tangible items collected, the businesses also raised more than $700 in cash for Five Loaves that will go a long way to provide for local families in need. The New Richmond Area Chamber of Commerce is very honored to be a part of this giving community and we look forward to carrying on this tradition annually.”

All the food and other items brought into the food shelf by the chamber’s drive will go to families in need and should help alleviate some of the pressure the Five Loaves Food Shelf feels every year during the holidays.

“The local businesses helping us collect this food really takes some of the pressure off of us, especially around the holidays,” Bismonte said. “To see the outpouring of support we have gotten through this food drive is amazing. We appreciate all the help the community and the volunteers give us.”

According to Bismonte, the more than 3,400 pounds of food the chamber’s drive brought in should feed more than 140 people based on each person getting a 25-pound bag of food when they visit the food shelf.

“We served 42 people just today and with the food that we got this afternoon, we provided food for an extra week with it,” Bismonte said. “That is enormous for us to be able to help out that many more people and have another week of food to supply the increased demand we have.”

The winner of this year’s competition for a large business was Westfields Hospital, while JA Counter won in the small business category.

“While these two business stand out as our winners, the collective amount from all that participated was astounding,” Woletz said.

The Five Loaves Food Shelf serves families and individuals from newborns to senior citizens, as well as homebound individuals, with the food it buys and gets as donations.

All 20 businesses that signed up for the food drive competition were tasked with collecting food, essentials and cash to donate to the Five Loaves Food Shelf.

Businesses that participated in the 2013 food drive include AKF Martial Arts, City of New Richmond, Countryside Vet Clinic, Dairy Queen, Derrick Companies, Family Dentistry, Fantastic Sams, First National Community Bank, JA Counter, Liquid Waste Technologies, New Richmond 8 Theatre, New Richmond Insurance, ReStore, Star Prairie Sports Bar, Verizon Wireless, The Centre, WESTconsin Credit Union, Westfields Hospital, St. Croix Press and Williamson & Siler.

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Jordan Willi
Jordan Willi is a reporter for the New Richmond News. Previously, he worked as a sports reporter at the Worthington Daily Globe in Worthington, Minnesota. He also interned at the Hudson Star Observer for two summers and contributed to the Bison Illustrated sports magazine at North Dakota State University.
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