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Simmons Firm Donation to Madison County Food Pantries Feeds Hundreds through Holiday Season

Employee Foundation Drive Collects More than 38,000 pounds in donations

SEFdrive1Simmons Employee Nathan Baca loads pallets full of canned food and other items from the Simmons Employee Foundation Food drive at the Simmons Firm's warehouse.    More than 38,000 pounds of food and personal hygiene items were delivered by employees at the Simmons Law Firm to five Madison County area pantries this past holiday season. Employees raised the food during the 7th Annual Simmons Employee Foundation Food Drive.
    “Giving back to others helps make the holiday season brighter, and I think everyone who helps with the Simmons Firm drive feels that way,” said Amy Garrett, Simmons Firm Shareholder and SEF Director. “Because of their work, we were able to deliver six or seven pallets of food per pantry to five pantries that will help feed hundreds of local families who might otherwise go hungry.”
    This year’s SEF food drive raised 38,683 pounds of food and toiletry items and exceeded last year’s total of 36,430 pounds. Firm employees sorted and divided the food into five equal portions of about 7,700 pounds each, which were then shrink wrapped and loaded onto the pallets.
    The pallets were then delivered to the Alton Salvation Army, the Crisis Food Center in Alton, the Community Hope Center in Cottage Hills, the Collinsville Area Ministerial Association’s Helping Hands food pantry, and the Community Care Center in Granite City.
    Holly Allen, emergency social services case worker, was amazed as workers from RCS Construction in Wood River unloaded about six pallets at the Alton Salvation Army.
    “It was such a blessing seeing how much food the Simmons Firm donated,” she said. “Our supplies were running low so it was such a relief. We are very thankful for the delivery and everything the Simmons Firm does to help the community.”
    Across the street, RCS workers Jeff Daugherty and Trevor Shields unloaded another six pallets at the Crisis Food Center. RCS donated both trucks, the gas and the drivers to help load and unload the items.
    “It’s food drives like the Simmons Firm drive that help us continue to provide the nutritional balance our families need,” said Susan Jolley, executive director at the Crisis Food Center in Alton.
    The Center feeds an average of 40 to 50 families a month. For November and December, the number of families fed spikes up to 70 or 80, she said. The firm’s donation is the third largest the center receives each year, behind the Boy Scout Food Drive and the U.S. Postal Service.
    Because of the larger food drives, Jolley said, the center has not had to turn hungry families away, despite the difficult economy.
    “We absolutely couldn’t do it without them,” she said. “Over the last three years, the economy has been tough on the people who need help and on the people who donated as well.”