EATON — The Preble County Food Bank had an influx of food right before new year, all thanks to Preble County Commissioner Denise Robertson and Needler’s Fresh Market.
Robertson was the lucky winner of the store’s grand opening shopping spree, but instead of using that opportunity for herself, she decided to donate the spree to the Preble County Food Bank.
“I entered to win the shopping at the store’s grand opening event. Even as I was filling out the paper, I thought to myself that I never win anything like this. My husband is the guy who wins contests; he is the lucky one in the family. So, when they called right before Christmas to tell me that I had won, I was very excited. I never win anything,” Robertson explained.
“I started to think about all the needs in our community, and thought that the food banks must be running low on food by now. That is when I knew I had to donate the prize, but at that point I didn’t know what ‘the prize’ was. I thought if it was a set amount of money that I could divide it up amongst the several food banks in the county and let them spend it. So, I had to make a call to the corporate person who left the message that I had won.
“When they clarified that I would only have 90 seconds to go through the store and could only grab two of any item, that changed my decision. I decided to contact Jenny McCarty and to give it to the Preble County Food Pantry in Eaton. Since Eaton has the largest population of people in the county, I thought that would be where the biggest need would be.”
Robertson added, after setting the date she called McCarty to help her decide what to purchase. The morning of Thursday, Dec. 28, the two women met an hour before the contest time. They discussed the needs of the food bank and McCarty informed Robertson that the thing they could use most was meat.
“They have lots of canned goods, but that they ran low on meat a lot of the time. So, we went back to the meat department and created a plan for me to grab as much meat in the 90 seconds as I could,” Robertson said. “We did a few dry runs to get the timing perfect because I also had to be with 20 feet of the registers when the 90 seconds ran out.
“I felt like I was on a game show! The store manager and another store employee followed me around announcing the time left and I went to work. It was a whirlwind of meat flying into my cart and that was the fastest minute and half ever. We went through the register with my prize. I was able to grab $438.61 worth of meat for the food bank for people in need of a good meal. I was so happy to bless other families when my family is so blessed by God.
“I was able to follow [McCarty] over to the Food Pantry and help her carry in and unload my prize. It was such a great feeling for me to share this prize with our community and the people who need it most.”
As for the food pantry, at time of press McCarty said, “It was really a lot of fun and a wonderful experience. [Robertson] was able to give us what is needed most and in time for the holidays. We were able to give the families a better cut of meat than they would normally get.
“In Preble County, like everywhere, meat is expensive. We get a lot of what our families need from schools and churches – they collect a lot of canned goods, so we are stocked with that, but we very rarely get that much meat, especially at a time when so many families rely on us and we start to run low.
“We normally have eggs and hot dogs and items like that, but [Robertson] was able to provide us with 40 items that were of a higher quality. That will help 20 families, giving every family two items from the shopping spree, and if they cook it right they can get multiple meals out of each item. She was able to grab stuff like chicken breasts, sausage, ham, and beef roast – items we very rarely get, because they are so expensive.
“[Robertson] was given something and without hesitation gave it to others. That says a lot about her character. We are lucky to have her as a representative of our county. She really cares a lot about everyone in the County and we are so thankful that she donated this much to us over the holidays.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH