In the early morning hours of Sunday, December 18th, a line of cars filed into the parking lot of PR Farms off of Shepherd Avenue, in anticipation of the generosity of seemingly an entire community.
The Clovis Rotary, Clovis PD, Salvation Army, Clovis Unified and numerous other organizations congregate each year on the Sunday before Christmas Eve to donate boxes of food to families of necessity throughout the region.
According to Sean Wheelock, Chair of the Clovis FoodBaskets, the Salvation Army identifies families in need that receive vouchers about two weeks prior to these donations.
These families are then invited to attend the drive thru food drive at PR Farms, where they can collect boxes of food and their choice of either a Christmas tree or a bicycle. The latter two are both donations from Clovis PD.
About fifty or so extras boxes will be donated to various other food drives across the Valley.
In addition to organizing the event, The Clovis Rotary Club and Clovis PD helped raise $8000 this year alone for this food drive. “That helps us buy the perishables- We have hot dogs, milk, cheese, eggs, cooking oils, things like that you don’t normally get in these food distributions,” said Wheelock.
Producers Milk helped pitch in by donating 500 gallons of milk for the food drive.
“We started off small, we started off with twenty boxes of food, and now it’s just grown and grown…I would say easily over a hundred dollars of groceries are in every box.”
Wheelock explained that the day before the food drive, with help from a number of students from Clovis area schools, the group was able to categorize different items of foods into bins that were then set across the line inside the PR Farms’ packing house.
Then, before and during the food drive, volunteers filled large boxes with an assortment of donated foods.
At PR Farms, not only is the community allowed to use their space for the food drive, but they also allow for the use of integral vehicles, such as their forklifts. In agreement to pay for the gas that runs the vehicles, their use is at the disposal of the volunteers of the day.
Bob Althoff, member of the Clovis Rotary for 43 years, pointed out the generosity and overall affability of the group, saying there was, “A couple of hundred every year…the whole community gets together and does it. We couldn’t do it without the police department and all these kids and all the high schools, and all the parents, it’s amazing it really is.”
For the past 30-35 years, the partnership between the Clovis Rotary and the Clovis PD has helped feed families during the winter break.
No matter the number of those fed, the number of volunteers, or even the number of items donated, the impact that of a simple gesture may go a lot further during the holiday season.
Food drives like these across the Valley come to show the humility of one’s character, and the love of a neighbor.