STANFORD — Three Lincoln County charitable organizations will be able to feed more hungry people this winter thanks to a special food-raising project organized by the Stanford Lions Club and the donations of local grocery shoppers.
Lions Club members gathered in front of Durham's grocery store in Stanford Saturday to collect donations of canned foods, and then matched all the donations with club funding.
Club member Bob Swett said more than $900 worth of food was donated, making a total of more than $1,800 worth of food after the Lions Club match.
The food was distributed Monday to the God's Pantry run out of Grace Fellowship Church, Fort Logan Ministry and the Lincoln County Family Resource Center's Backpack Program.
Sandy Austin with God's Food Pantry said the donation will help her organization continue feeding the more than 150 families it helps every month.
"It's wonderful because our pantry is low, just like everybody else's," she said.
The Lions Club initially planned to match up to $750 worth of food, but when people continued to donate well beyond that amount, the club decided to continue matching as well, Swett said.
Lions Club President Sharon Woods said the vehicle they used to carry the food was weighed down by the end of the day.
"There was a lot of food packed in that van," she said. "It was just amazing how many people gave."
Some people didn't come out with cans of food, but gave cash for the Lions Club to buy more food with. One man wrote a check for $50, Woods said.
Nancy Roller, director of Fort Logan Ministry, said the boxes of food that were loaded up for her Monday night will keep her group stocked for about three weeks.
The timing couldn't have been better, since the ministry's pantry is currently bare and there's about to be an uptick in food needs as children get out of school, Roller said.
The Stanford Lions Club, which has been around since 1944, has donated food in the past, but this was the first year it conducted a matching-donation event.
Other projects the club works on include buying Christmas gifts for adults and children in need and buying eyeglasses, Woods said. Last year, the club helped land a $10,000 grant for tornado victims in Laurel County.
The club is in the process of setting up a scholarship fund and are always identifying potential service projects it can contribute to, she added.
With Lions Club chapters in 217 countries around the world, Vice President Jan Swett the international group is the largest service organization in the world.
"Lions is a lot bigger than a lot of people think," Woods said. "They say we're the world's best-kept secret, but we're working on changing that."