By MARY RAINWATER
Not only does Meals on Wheels of Palestine Inc. strive to feed homebound and elderly residents in three local counties, it also reaches out in a different way to help youngsters stay off drugs.
The Palestine Senior Activity Center on Church Street, where Meals on Wheels is headquartered, is now the home of a DARE donation bin, relocated from its previous spot at the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office.
“We appreciate Meals on Wheels for partnering with us on this project,” Anderson County Sheriff Greg Taylor said. “This is a good location for the bin.”
Taylor reported that his agency currently has seven bins belonging to Dallas-based World Wear Project stationed throughout Anderson County, with six of those at area elementary schools.
Residents can donate clothing, shoes, belts, purses, wallets, hats, caps, backpacks, hard toys, stuffed animals and pots and pans to the project by placing such items in bins currently located at Palestine’s Story Intermediate School, Westwood Elementary School, Frankston Elementary School, Elkhart Elementary School, Slocum Elementary School and Neches Elementary School.
The 560-pound bins, which have the trademarked DARE logo and donation information, were first put in place in May 2012.
“(World Wear Project) empties the bins at least once a month, sometimes every two or three weeks, depending on how full they are,” Taylor said. “They then refurbish the donated items before sending them to third world countries.”
World Wear Project pays Anderson County $50 per month for each bin, with the monthly proceeds of $350 going directly to the county’s DARE program, the sheriff explained.
“The more bins we have,” Taylor said, “the more money we make for DARE.”
While the DARE officer’s salary and vehicle is funded through the agency, other items and supplies for the program are funded by private donations, according to Taylor.
“If you are having a garage sale and have any of these items left over, feel free to donate them at the bins,” DARE office Pat Douthit-Green said. “In some cases, we can even come pick up the items for donation.”
Fifth-grade students in Anderson County schools go through a semester of DARE training which gives them the tools to say ‘no’ to drugs and make other healthy lifestyle decisions.
“We are very glad to have one of the bins here at our site,” Meals on Wheels of Palestine Executive Director Lois Durant said. “It goes to a good cause — benefiting kids right here in our community.”
For more information about the DARE bins or if you have items for donation, call the Anderson County Sheriff’s Office at 903-729-6068.
Meals on Wheels of Palestine is always in need of volunteers. Please call 903-729-6344 or 902-729-0255 to help.
Mary Rainwater may be reached via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org