Local families will have plenty of food and essential hygiene items available during the holidays, regardless of their situation; the food pantries are stocked and ready.

University of the Cumberlands’ annual food drive raised 10,712 pounds of food, all of which have been delivered to First Baptist Church of Williamsburg Food Pantry, Williamsburg Family Resource Center, First Baptist Church Backpack Program, Mt. Pisgah Baptist Church Food Pantry, Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Food Pantry, Shiner Church of Christ Food Pantry, and Emergency Christian Ministry Homeless Shelter.

The university’s annual food drive is focused on donating food for local families, with the addition of hygiene items in the past couple years. All items the university requests are based on the food pantries’ highest need.

This year, Save-A-Lot donated approximately 2,000 pounds of food to the cause.

“As a hometown grocer, we take pride in supporting communities throughout the region,” said Brooks Napier, vice president of distribution at Save-A-Lot. “We're thankful for the opportunity to partner with University of the Cumberlands on such an important program. We're not just shipping cases, we're delivering someone's meal."

“We’re grateful for the partnership with Save-A-Lot,” said Jamirae Holbrook, vice president for student affairs at Cumberlands, who oversaw the food drive. “We often use monetary donations for the food drive and spend it at our local Save-A-Lot, so it was natural to reach out to corporate and discuss this opportunity to serve our community.”

The university had a theme for each day of the week-long food drive, but, of course, all nonperishable food donations were accepted any day. The requested items were based on feedback from the food pantries about their specific needs. Members of the Cumberlands family – as well as members of the local community – donated nonperishable foods like fruit pouches and easy-to-open, easy-to-microwave meals; protein and beans; pasta and sauces; and canned fruits and vegetables. Hygiene and laundry items were donated as well.

Weekly from the first day of fall classes, Cumberlands student volunteers serve each of the seven programs that the food drive supplies. Students care for these programs and their customers by stocking shelves, filling family food bags, inventorying items, filling backpacks, and carrying food to cars for families and elderly neighbors. From the food drive to their weekly service projects, this is a full-circle learning experience for students.