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Cookie contest raises cash for food bank
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My Town manager Tina Mingenback, left, along with Rosewood Services activity coordinator Jennifer Stoddard, donate cash to Barton County Food Bank representatives, earlier this month. Also pictured in the photo are the Food Banks Jenny Gordy and Bob Essmiller. The Food Bank takes donations on weekdays from 8:30-11:15 a.m. and from 3-4 p.m. For food distribution, the Food Bank is open from 1-3 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday. Besides juice, Esmiller said the Food Bank is in need of tuna and other canned meat products, as well as spaghetti sauce.

A sweet time had by more than a dozen Great Bend retail businesses and shoppers in late November resulted in more than $350 being donated to the Food Bank of Barton County earlier this month.
The Cookie Contest, organized by Rosewood Services Inc. and MyTown LP, raised $378 for the Food Bank, located at 3007 10th Street, Great Bend. While the community has been generous with food donations, cash comes in handy for purchasing food that is still in short supply for those in need, said Food Bank Co-Chairman Bob Essmiller. He explained that the community’s demand for food will increase with the new year, so donations are crucial now.
“Cash helps fill the void to purchase what is needed at the moment,” said Essmiller. “It comes at the perfect time of the year, as we gear up for January. Our biggest month by far is January. We are busy year-round, but January is a bearcat for us.”
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. Even though families are limited to using the Food Bank three times a year – a fourth under special circumstances – a crew of several dozen Food Bank volunteers serve more than 600 people a month. January may traditionally be the busiest month of the year, but the need for services is strong, regardless of the month, said Food Bank manager Jenny Gordy. Among the 605 people who needed the Food Bank last month, 28 new families were served, comprising a total of 73 new people.  
“These are people who have never needed to use our services before and now they do,” said Gordy. “I don’t know what has changed in their lives, but something sure has changed. I’m glad we are here to help them.”
Gordy said the heartbreaking aspect of the continual need for Food Bank services by families is that 44 percent of more than 7,000 people served annually are children. As a result, the Food Bank never has enough juice to give the children, she added.
Rosewood and My Town are doing their small part to provide support to the Food Bank’s worthy cause by providing the organization proceeds from the Cookie Contest for the second consecutive year. They, along with 14 businesses involved in the cookie contest, have discovered a way to generate a fun and festive food drive.
“We feel blessed to have been able to help in some way,” said Rosewood’s Jennifer Stoddard. “We thank the Food Band and their volunteers for filling such an important need for our community.”