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Advanced Therapys Food Drive contributes to community need
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Difference Makers ATSM owner Teresa Malone (left) presents a check donation to Community Food Bank of Barton County representatives Jennie Gordy, and Evelyn and Bob Essmiller. Behind the group, donated goods sit on the shelves, ready to help those community members who are in dire need.

Advanced Therapy and Sports Medicine topped its inaugural food drive with a check donation to the Community Food Bank of Barton County earlier this month. “The Give Back Community Food Drive,” held by ATSM through the month of October, netted a full grocery cart of food for the Food Bank.
Advanced Therapy owner Teresa Malone deemed the food drive a success and vowed to hold the drive again next October, coinciding with the annual National Physical Therapy Month.
“It was a good thing to do, and I was impressed with the way everyone stood up and participated,” said Malone. “We really enjoyed this drive. Our staff eagerly participated, patients brought in food, people who knew us brought in food. It was an interesting process. I was pleased with the way it worked.”
Food Bank representatives showed heartfelt appreciation for the donations. Serving up to 600 families a month, donations like those from Advanced Therapy are truly needed.
“We would have a very, very tough job if it weren’t for the continued support such as you and other people of the community,” Food Bank Board Co-Chairman Bob Essmiller told Malone. “If we had to turn people away who were in desperate need, I don’t even want to think about it.”
The Food Bank operates under the auspices of the Barton County Association of Churches and is organized to distribute food to Barton County residents in crisis situations. People are limited to using the Food Bank three times a year – a fourth time under special circumstances. Located at 3007 10th Street, the Food Bank is open 1-3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday for distribution of food.
“The Food Bank need goes on forever,” said Food Bank Manager Jennie Gordy. “It’s really been needed in this community the last few years because work hours have been cut, jobs have been lost, spouses have left. There are a number of things that happen to a family during hard times.”
The Food Bank is affiliated with the Kansas Food Bank, based out of Wichita and a member of the Feeding America Program. That affiliation allows Dillons and Wal-Mart to freeze and donate nearly expired meat to the Food Bank.
Most of the Dillons and Wal-Mart food products from that program need to be distributed quickly, so the Food Bank also disperses food to the Boys Home, Girls Home, Life Giving Center and the Soup Kitchen and other areas of need.
The Food Bank relies on upwards of 40 volunteers to carry out its many daily duties. Some of them work directly at the Food Bank. They stock pantry shelves, contribute funding for purchase of milk, eggs and other goods, and they shop for groceries. Others volunteer at nearly a dozen community churches that help coordinate distribution of food.
“We realize there are other good causes to contribute to,” said Evelyn Essmiller, Co-Chairman of the Food Bank Board, with her husband. “We’re just so thankful that people continue to remember the Food Bank.”