CONWAY — The 18th annual Food Drive for Vaughan Community Service Inc. of North Conway met its goals Wednesday, with residents donating food and making cash donations to help the center’s food pantry as well as other local pantries.
The event was broadcast live by the Mount Washington Radio Group.
Station owner Greg Frizzell started the food drive 18 years ago.
Local sister radio stations WMWV 93.5-FM and Magic 104 broadcast live during the hours of 6 a.m.-6 p.m. from the food drive site at First Church of Christ, Congregational in North Conway.
It rained all day, but people came out despite that.
“We thank everyone who came out today, volunteers, residents, businesses,” said station music director Mark Johnson as the 12-hour drive was coming to a close.
This year, a goal of 350 frozen turkeys was set, down from past years, as organizers encouraged donors to give cash instead to allow the Vaughan to leverage it by buying additional food at the New Hampshire Food Bank, which matches every dollar donated 3-to-1, according to Vaughan board of directors chair Dot Seybold.
That gave the food drive a new slogan this year of “Turkeys and 20s,” with a total of 344 turkeys donated and $8,194 given in cash as of 5:45 p.m.
Interviewed by the Mount Washington Radio Group’s Tony Zore, Seybold said the food drive fills a vital need in the community.
“I credit the Mount Washington Radio Group for what has become an enormously successful event for Vaughan Community Service. This is not a marketing thing — we rely on this to get so many people through the winter,” said Seybold.
Interim administrator Jen Perkins of the Vaughan Center echoed Seybold’s comments, thanking the station, volunteers and donors.
Volunteers manned the collection stations, with school groups such as the White Mountain Waldorf School joining in the effort.
“It is a great community service exercise for our students,” said teacher Sarah Davidson, as students Sawyer Cook, Abby Lain, Sally Baptista, Nieve Keady, Dodge Myer-Baily, Rowan Davidson-Pullan, Will Twigg-Smith, Merrik Iacozili, Ricco Graziano-Simpson and Rylan McBride helped to collect donations as they came in the door Wednesday morning.
Construction of a new food pantry next to Vaughan is currently underway with completion scheduled for February 2020. The $1.4 million capital campaign has raised $1.1 million to date.
“We are aggressively seeking additional donations,” said capital campaign chair Dan Jones, including in the form of $300,000 in CDFA (Community Development Finance Authority) tax credits that are being sold.
A new clothing depot is to be started in April 2020 as well with a fall of 2020 completion date.
To donate to the capital campaign of Vaughan Community Services Inc., which is a 501(c)(3) mission organization, call Jones at (603) 986-6099 or Dot Seybold at (603) 356-7031.
Checks may be mailed to Vaughan Community Service, P.O. Box 401, North Conway, NH 03860.