The Ottumwa Courier

December 6, 2013

Food driving for the Lord's Cupboard

Courier staff writer

---- — OTTUMWA — Ottumwa Transit is putting a spin on what you would think of when hearing “food drive.”

Instead of the classic way to get food donations, Ottumwa Transit is taking food drive a little more literally. No, the food is not driving, but there will be food donation bins on each public bus.

All next week, starting Monday morning and concluding Saturday, the buses will be the drop-off stations for all Ottumwa Transit food donations, which will be given to the Lord’s Cupboard at the end of the week.

Best of all, you don’t have to be riding the bus to make a donation. The box will be next to the door, so if you see a bus stopped but do not intend on riding, just drop your food item into the bin and carry on.

“Even if someone wants to flag a bus down,” David Silverio, Transit director, said. “All of the buses will have donation bins on them.”

The idea, which actually makes a lot of sense if you take it literally, was kind of a spur-of-the-moment kind of decision, Silverio said. He got the idea while helping with the Veterans Day celebrations by the Department of Transportation in which they offered free rides to veterans and their families.

He realized Ottumwa Transit needed to do something to show Ottumwans that they are in the giving spirit and thought donating to the needy people of Ottumwa is the perfect way.

“The residents of Ottumwa have continued to support and help us,” Silverio said. “I thought that Transit really needed to give back.”

This is the first time Ottumwa Transit has done this sort of portable food drive, at least since Silverio has been there. Because of that, this food drive is sort of a trial run for them. With the results and feedback from the community, they will be able to see what needs to be done to make it bigger and better in the future.

“We will have to see how it works out,” Silverio said.

The bins for each bus were all donated and won’t be all that big since they will be sitting inside a bus. Any food is accepted, but bulkier items might not be the best to donate since there isn’t a lot of space available.

Any and all donations are greatly appreciated, and since all of the food is going to the Lord’s Cupboard, it will help provide for a needy family in the Ottumwa community, which was one of Silverio’s biggest reasons for creating the food drive.

“Everything we get is staying in Ottumwa,” he said. “Not that there aren’t people struggling everywhere … but I feel strongly that we need to give back to the community.”

— To see reporter Josh Vardaman's Twitter feed, go to @CourierJosh