PITTSTON — Representatives of local businesses dropped off food donations Friday to conclude the United Way’s Christmas in July 2016.
According to a press release, the food drive started in 1989 as a way to reduce the summer slump in donations to area food banks. Since that time, over 1.4 million pounds of food have been collected.
At the Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank in the McGown Center for Healthy Living in Pittston, Kathy Bozinski, director of marketing and communications, and Bill Jones, CEO of United Way of Wyoming Valley, waited by the loading bays for trucks and companies to bring their goods.
Frontier Communications brought two pick-up trucks full of goods.
“It’s like a parade,” Jones said when he noticed the trucks.
Sally Maniskas, facilities coordinator for Frontier Communications in Pennsylvania, said the company “thinks very strongly” about volunteerism.
“It’s necessary,” Maniskas said, “especially in the summer.”
After workers piled boxes high onto pallets, the pallets were weighed. The communications firm, located in Dallas with approximately 340 employees, donated money for the Dolly Parton Imagination Library and 1,349 pounds of food.
Last year, Frontier donated over 2,000 pounds of food.
“I’m going to have to shame them (the workers),” Maniskas joked about not collecting the same amount of food.
Right before the Frontier trucks pulled in, Wilkes-Barre’s Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies had a weigh-in of 588 pounds.
Jones called the day “wonderful.” He noted that 11 new companies signed up for the food drive this year.
“People care about others in need,” he said.
Bozinski said some companies are rivals — friendly, of course. It’s a notion Maniskas agreed with.
“There was some competition between the groups (of Frontier),” she said.
Even though the competition was “spirited,” Jones considers the real winners of the food drive to be “those in the community who might be food insecure and the children of the Wyoming Valley.”
Overall, Bozinski said, the United Way collected over 10,000 pounds of food and $27,712 in cash, equaling 11,085 books for the library.
Benco Dental, Frontier Communications and Proctor & Gamble donated the most food. Berkshire Hathaway GUARD Insurance Companies, Navient and Trion Industries also participated.
Reach Melanie Mizenko at 570-991-6116 or on Twitter @TL_MMizenko