Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Jamison collects more than 1,500 cans for food bank

Most kids don't think about someone else on their own birthdays. But then Jamison Bethea isn't like most kids.
On July 21, Jamison, 10, and his mother, Cynthia Bethea, spent his birthday at Hanes Hosiery Recreation Center collecting food for Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest North Carolina. Jamison will be in the fifth grade at Downtown Elementary School.
"I wanted to collect 500 and got almost 1,600" cans, Jamison said.
Jamison decided to have the food drive in memory of his grandmother Jacqueline Ingram. Cynthia Bethea said Ingram died in April 2011 and Jamison was very close to her.
"He started a charity called Granny's Love and he donated the food in her name," Cynthia said. "He's got a heart to help others."
Homeless shelters are among the agencies that receive food from Second Harvest. Jamison said he got the idea for the food drive from seeing homeless people around the Samaritan Inn that is near Union Baptist Church, which his family attends.
"I wanted to help out," Jamison said.
They sent invitations to friends letting them know about the food drive, and in turn they told others. Nigel Alston, a columnist for the Winston-Salem Journal, wrote about it in his column.
"We had about 75 to 80 people come out," Cynthia Bethea said. "The first family got there about 9:15 and they kept coming until 4. There were so many wonderful people who came out. We cried two or three times."
On Wednesday, Jamison and his mother visited the food bank to see what happens to the food that he collected. The food had been picked up earlier in the week.
Tomi Melson, the director of development and community relations for Second Harvest, gave them a tour and explained how the food is distributed.
"His food has been sorted and prepared to go out," she said.
Second Harvest serves 18 counties and has more than 300 member agencies. It provides food to such agencies as food pantries, soup kitchens and group homes, which distribute the food to people in need.
Clyde Fitzgerald, the executive director of Second Harvest, congratulated Jamison on his food drive.
"It's a great thing he did," Fitzgerald said. "He far surpassed his goal. His act to make a difference will make a difference. I'm very proud of him."

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