National Day of Service food and eyeglass drive attracts hundreds

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Hundreds of volunteers gathered this weekend for a food and eyeglass drive hosted by a variety of local and international non-profit groups in honor of the National Day of Service.

Tom Painter, founder of the non-profit Success and Money Foundation, hosted the event in collaboration with CharityVision, Tabitha’s Way and Community Action Services and Food Bank.

75,000 food items and 60,000 eyeglasses were donated to the non-profit groups before Saturday’s event, Painter said.

The first night included hundreds of young single adult wards and volunteers who helped organize the donations and supplies. The second and third nights were primarily handled by various youth groups across Provo, according to Painter.

“Without the people, there’s no way we could assemble all this food or recycle all these glasses,” Painter said.

More than 400 people attended the drive on Saturday and helped build individual food packs for young students. Each pack contained seven different items that would be given to students who needed food on the weekends.

“We worked to make sure that the food in the packs is something that a child will like to eat and is easy to prepare, and we strive to make it healthy,” CEO of Community Action Services and Food Bank Karen McCandless said.

In addition to the food packs created for the students, thousands of pounds worth of food will be donated from the food drive to families all across Utah County. These food items are transported in large crates provided by Tabitha’s Way.

“The food drive today is really big for us, it’s going to help us feed a lot of families,” Kara Smith, social outreach coordinator of Tabitha’s Way said.

Volunteers at the event also helped disassemble donated eyeglasses to prepare them to be shipped all across the world for those in need of vision correction.

“We have found that by giving clear vision to those who need it we are giving back their life,” CEO of CharityVision Doug Jackson said.

The food and eyeglass drive focused on honoring the lives of those lost during 9/11 by uniting the community through service, Painter said.

“If you think about 9/11, what happened there was very unfortunate. You have two choices to be able to see that: you can be mad and angry or you can go out there and try and make a difference. We’re choosing to make a difference,” Painter said.

An estimated 90,000 eyeglasses and 100,000 food items were donated to the food drive over the course of the week, in addition to 15,000 food kids for local children in need.

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