Driven to help

Benna Sayyed: Freedom New Mexico Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico warehouse staff loaded food donations on to a shipping truck Saturday as donations came in from motorcyclists doing residential pickups.

Benna Sayyed

Motorcyclists rode around Curry and Roosevelt counties Saturday collecting canned food donations from in front of residents’ homes to help the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico feed the hungry for the holidays.

According to Nancy Taylor, executive director of the food bank, the drive provided a base of operation for local agencies the food bank serves. She estimated 85 to 100 volunteers made the event possible.

Taylor said the motorcyclists each had an assigned route to cover. Each rode their route three times throughout the day to collect food donations.

“At the beginning of the morning when we went to the Harley-Davidson dealership (High Plains Harley) the food that was there looked wonderful and we spent a great deal of time loading, so that’s a good sign,” said Taylor, who did not ride Saturday but directed the event.

“The canned goods are the staple; they are the foundation of food banking because they don’t have an expiration date in most cases. Canned goods are something that people can donate easily.”

According to Taylor, when canned good donations enter the food bank they go through quality control where they are bleach washed from top to bottom and marked with an identification code. The donations are then packed into boxes, categorized and shelved for area food pantries to pick up and serve to local families.

Taylor said the food drive made it easier for people to donate instead of taking contributions to the food bank. The food drive was a trouble-free way for citizens to serve from their home, she said.

“We know that people are busy. Saturday is their day for their own chores. This is something very simple that they can do and be effective in helping the food bank with its purpose,” Taylor said.

“During the cold winter months utilities are so expensive that people have to make a choice. We can do the gathering and get the food and keep people fed while they’re keeping their kids warm,” Taylor said.

Taylor said the food drive allowed riders the opportunity to do a camaraderie ride and enjoy each other’s fellowship while volunteering their services.

Bobby Hammock, assistant director of High Plains Hog Chapter, has participated in the event for the past five years.

“A lot of people look at bikers like they’re outlaws from back in the days,” said Hammock, and mentioned the bikers’ objective was to ride and have fun while collecting food.

“We’re not outlaws anymore, we try to help out in the community. There are a lot of good bikers out there today.

“We do this every year, we get our chapter members together and come over and help pick up the food for a good cause. I know there is a big need in Clovis for the food,” Hammock said.

Taylor said results of the food drive will be available Monday when the food bank weighs collections.