Sonora, CA– The Stanislaus National Forest has broadened the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour to include a food drive for the misfortunate in New Mexico.
The Forest Service has partnered with the Amador Tuolumne Community Action Agency Food Bank to organize a statewide food collection that will deliver a semi-truck full of food to Gallup, New Mexico as a gift from Californians.
In organizing a national tour for the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree, Shandy Bearden and her colleagues at the Stanislaus National Forest, felt that the Forest Service should do more than simply manage the movement of the Sierra white fir from point A to point B.
The idea of a food drive came to her after studying official statistics involving the states and cities along the Christmas Tree route from California to Washington, D.C.
She learned that New Mexico’s poverty rate is well documented and surpassed only by that of Mississippi, according to a report released last week by the U.S. Census. Every week nearly 40,000 residents of New Mexico seek food assistance, with 54 percent of food bank recipients saying they often have to choose between paying for food and paying for utilities or heating fuel.
Since the Capitol Christmas Tree would be passing through Gallup, Bearden believed it would be a logical recipient of the food collection effort.
Foodlink, a non-profit storage and trucking organization that distributes food to food banks in California, is providing the trailer that will be used to transport the donated food to Gallup.
Other food banks participating in the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree food drive for Gallup include Amador Interface, the Resource Connection in Calaveras, and Feeding America Food Bank of Stanislaus and Amador counties. A food bank in Santa Monica has also signed on to participate.
The Forest Service will be providing food collection containers for non-perishable foods at each of the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree Tour stops in California so that everyone can participate.
The collected food will be distributed to The Community Pantry and Casa San Martin in Gallup, N.M. on Nov. 16th.
“Even a six-year-old can give a can of food and feel good that they’re giving something of themselves and that they’re sharing,” Bearden said, “The food collection effort symbolizes the giving spirit that Stanislaus National Forest Service wants to convey with this year’s U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree tour.”
For more information about the U.S. Capitol Christmas Tree food drive, click here.