Mayors' food drive: Community donations to help those in need for the holidays

The second annual Parker County Mayors’ Food Drive kicked off Thursday and will run the entire month of October to benefit Center of Hope. From left, Willow Park Mayor Doyle Moss, Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall, Millsap Mayor Jamie French and Weatherford Mayor Paul Paschall.

Helping those in need is more important than ever during the COVID-19 pandemic and the second annual Parker County Mayors’ Food Drive kicked off Thursday to benefit Center of Hope.

“This year, it is especially challenging for many families due to the financial impact of COVID,” Willow Park Mayor Doyle Moss — who first initiated the food drive out of his business — said. “We encourage all who can donate to take some time to contribute and help make the end of the year a little brighter for our neighbors in need.”

The Parker County Center of Hope pantry provides 4,000 baskets each year to families in need.

“Doyle Moss started this himself probably 12 or 14 years ago and he started it small, doing it locally and each year it got bigger and bigger and he’s asked more and more people to help, and then when he became mayor, he made it a community-wide thing,” Center of Hope Chief Executive Officer Paula Robinson said. “So he wasn’t interested in keeping his name going, he was just interested in the best way to help people. He thought the mayors pulling together would really bring it to another level of community partnerships and people helping and I think that’s a really unique way to help people.”

The Mayors’ Food Drive will run through the entire month of October.

“I just think it’s a good thing for Parker County with the virus going on,” Millsap Mayor Jamie French said. “With people out of work and the situation that it is, anybody that can help somebody else is what we need to do.”

Robinson said this year, the food will benefit those in need for Christmas.

“We did change the list a little bit and geared it more toward Christmas because we are expecting a tremendous increase this year with the need,” Robinson said. “Before we had just been pretty general with the list, but we kind of geared it toward Christmas knowing that what we’re seeing today increased and with the uncertain times that are still ahead, we just want to be sure that at Christmas there’s no shortage.”

The items that will be accepted include canned soup, meat, green beans; canned or boxed chicken broth; Bisquick baking mix; box stuffing; pie filling; and peanut butter.

“The city of Aledo has been a participant in the Mayors’ Food Drive for quite a few years before it actually became the Mayors’ Food Drive, when Mayor Moss was doing it with his business. I’m happy that we’ve morphed it into a Mayors’ Food Drive so that other cities across Parker County can participate in this very important event because it benefits Center of Hope who has seen a tremendous increase in need for food and other items, particularly since COVID-19 hit this area,” Aledo Mayor Kit Marshall said. “I just think that it’s even more important this year because we have more people that are hurting for a lot of reasons. I hope that everybody will participate and either go by their respective city hall or some of the businesses.”

Donations will be accepted at Center of Hope and The Hope Chest, 1318 Clear Lake Road in Weatherford; and Moss Insurance Agency. Mayors can also direct residents to their drop-off points within their cities, which includes each city hall.

“With everything going on this year, the pandemic and economic hardships on businesses and families, it’s important that we ensure that our neighbors and communities are cared for,” Weatherford Mayor Paul Paschall said. “We are encouraging everyone that can donate to help make the holiday season great for all of our neighbors in need.”

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