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The Leavenworth Times - Leavenworth, KS
  • Operation Food Locker underway in Leavenworth area

  • Larry Martin, a Connecticut native and 20-year military veteran, spent four years living in Leavenworth, from 1985-89. He returned three years later for a simple reason — "this was home," he said."I was totally impressed with the community," said Martin, today the owner of Leavenworth businesses Consultants Financia...
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    • Donations needed for Operation Food Locker, and...

      • Pasta and sauce
      • Boxed meals
      • Powdered and canned milk
      • Canned fruit
      • Pork and beans
      • Spaghettios
      • Soup
      • Tuna...

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      Donations needed for Operation Food Locker, and delivery points:

      • Pasta and sauce

      • Boxed meals

      • Powdered and canned milk

      • Canned fruit

      • Pork and beans

      • Spaghettios

      • Soup

      • Tuna

      • Mac-n-Cheese

      • Cereal

      • Oatmeal

      • One-dish meals

      • Canned chicken

      • Peanut butter and jelly

      • Beans and boxed potatoes

      • Ravioli

      • Breakfast items

      • Powdered drinks



      • Corner Pharmacy

      • Kramer and Associates

      • Armed Forces Insurance

      • Protestant Women of the Chapel at Fort Leavenworth

      • Riverfront Community Center

      • Harris Bros. Cleaners

      • Leavenworth County Courthouse

      • University of Saint Mary dining hall

      • Lansing City Hall

      • Lansing Library

      • Exchange bank

      • Commerce Bank

      • Country Club Bank

      • Genesis Health Club

      • Gronis Hardware

      • The Smile Center dentist office

      • Kansas City Community College• Corner Pharmacy

      • Kramer and Associates

      • Armed Forces Insurance

      • Protestant Women of the Chapel at Fort Leavenworth

      • Riverfront Community Center

      • Harris Bros. Cleaners

      • Leavenworth County Courthouse

      • University of Saint Mary dining hall

      • Lansing City Hall

      • Lansing Library

      • Exchange bank

      • Commerce Bank

      • Country Club Bank

      • Genesis Health Club

      • Gronis Hardware

      • The Smile Center dentist office

      • Kansas City Community College

  • Larry Martin, a Connecticut native and 20-year military veteran, spent four years living in Leavenworth, from 1985-89. He returned three years later for a simple reason — "this was home," he said.
    "I was totally impressed with the community," said Martin, today the owner of Leavenworth businesses Consultants Financial Services and Prestige Home Care of Kansas. "This is a great community of talented, giving people. Whenever the call goes out that people need help, people in this community step up.
    "That's what we're doing now, we're raising awareness, and I'm pretty confident folks will step up."
    The call Martin, the Leavenworth Rotary Club, the University of Saint Mary and USM President Sister Diane Steele are putting out to the community: assist Operation Food Locker, a first-year program designed to replenish Leavenworth-area food pantries for the Salvation Army, Catholic Charities, Leavenworth Assistance Center and Trinity House.
    The food drive lasts until April 19, and seeks donations of canned and boxed goods in advance of Easter. A second food drive will take place in the fall, in the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving and Christmas.
    Martin said the project began with a "red flag" email from Catholic Charities stating the agency's shelves were bare. He and Steele, a fellow Rotarian, met and Operation Food Locker was born.
    Martin, drawing on his military roots, wrote a detailed project plan — "organize a high-intensity food drive two times per year to rapidly increase the depleted stocks in the Leavenworth area" — and Steele, he said, is the effort's "de facto chairwoman."
    "There is no reason people should go hungry in our community," said Steele, USM's president for 13 years.
    USM has also involved students in the food drive effort.
    Steele said 40-50 students are participating in the push to feed the hungry, taking the lessons of public need, assistance and hunger from classroom theory and putting it into real world actions.
    "Service to us is being a good neighbor," Steele said. "We really try to help students understand service is not an extra, it's essential."
    Martin and Steele concede this season's initial effort may not yield the desired results, but they said there's a resolve to stick with the program twice a year.
    "I don't know if it will ever be enough," Steele said. "But, it will be a start."
    "We recognize the first go around we may not get the attention or the amount of food that we're looking for, but we figure if we keep at it, it'll grow," Martin said.
    The food drives are designed primarily to assist the working poor.
    "It's for people who have had an accident, or sickness in their family, or an unexpected jump in bills," Martin said.
    Page 2 of 2 - "What jump started this was that extended unemployment benefits had terminated and also that temporary increase in food stamps authorization had expired. Those contributed to the increase in demand."
    Steele said the community — residents and businesses — have already been helpful.
    "The people of Leavenworth are very generous and willing to help," she said.
    Martin said businesses, particularly those who have agreed to be delivery points for donations, have been impressive in their assistance.
    "Business people are always swamped," he said. "They already have a full plate, but almost everybody we asked has stepped up."
    He hopes the generosity continues, so needed food reaches the four lockers and goes out to those in need.
    "Please, if you would look on the list for the nearest food collection point and drop off a donation," he said.

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