As Thanksgiving approaches, a local church and a motorcycle club have teamed up to make sure those needing food have it.

“We have gathered 3,800 pounds of food so far this month,” said Greg “Big Dogg” Totty of the Independents Motorcycle Club on Sunday as he and Mac “Popcorn” McClure delivered 969 pounds of canned, boxed and other non-perishable food items to Griffin Memorial United Methodist Church. “We were hoping for 1,000 pounds today,” added McClure, “but we didn’t quite get it.”

The Independents also presented a $1,000 check to Griffin Memorial pastor Mary Welche. Totty said the Independents were able to deliver 1,263 pounds the first day of their effort, Nov. 1.

And Welche said the donations are as greatly appreciated as they are needed. “We do 60 families each Tuesday and Thursday,” she said.

The Independents’ contribution is not the only source of food available to Griffin Memorial. “We also get 10,000 pounds a month in commodities from USDA [i.e. United States Department of Agriculture] in Jonesboro,” Welche said. “But even at 10,000 pounds a month, we run out, so we are really glad for their donations to us.”

In addition, she said, while the USDA requires identification to prove the potential recipient is a Greene County resident, the foods donated by The Independents does not have such a requirement. “We just know people are hungry,” she said, “and we figure most people aren’t going to ask unless they really need it.”

The church’s food pantry is open from noon to 4 p.m. Tuesdays, and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Thursdays. “We also do about 150 sack lunches on Thursdays,” Welche said. “Now, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving we’ll be doing 200 sack lunches.”

Welche said the food and money comes from donations The Independents collect outside Hays. Other donations have come from a Friday joint food drive conducted by Griffin Memorial, Witt House of First United Methodist Church and Mission Outreach. “We collected 5,400 pounds and $3,000,” she said, “and we split it three ways.”

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