Toyota donated more than 2,000 pounds of food to AMEN House on Monday in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day.
The vehicle manufacturer collected non-perishable items from employees across its Georgetown campus throughout last week to donate to AMEN House Monday morning.
Kim Sweazy, external affairs analyst at Toyota, said it was important to do an act of service in honor of the holiday.
“We did this in honor of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, and as a day of service to honor Dr. King’s work,” Sweazy said. “AMEN House specifically is local and we wanted to be able to give back within Scott County. It’s important to us because it’s our home county.”
Michele Carlisle, director of AMEN House, said the donation was an unexpected surprise.
“I think they reached out last week, wanting to do something specific for Martin Luther King Jr. Day,” Carlisle said. “We were thrilled to hear that they were going to bring food our way.
Typically, the majority of our donations come in between Thanksgiving and Christmas, so seeing other opportunities that people are thinking about the hunger in Scott County is a move in a right direction.”
While this is not the first time Toyota has donated to the AMEN House, Sweazy said she felt ongoing COVID-19 pandemic played a big role in this last-minute donation.
“I think it takes nothing more than taking a look at what is going on in the news and seeing where the true need is,” Sweazy said. “We’ve seen our food banks hit harder than they have ever been. We know hunger is something we can at least try to help with through these donations.”
Sweazy added that a food drive seemed like a safe way to give back during the pandemic.
“Because of COVID and because of social distancing, we wanted to find something we could do where people could give back and still be able to do it in a safe way,” she said. “That’s one of the reasons we’ve chosen to do a food drive”
Carlisle agreed and said the pandemic has only added hurdles to AMEN House’s donations.
“It was a much-needed donation,” she said. “The pandemic has made everything more complicated. I just think the fact that they are trying in the middle of all of this should be applauded. We are so thankful for the support of Toyota. They are definitely one of our biggest partners and we are so thankful for everything they do.”
Because of the last-minute organization of the food drive, Sweazy said she was grateful and surprised at the number of people who participated.
“We did this on very short notice and people mobilized very quickly to get food in,” she said. “I do feel like they understand the need is great and people wanted to be able to reach out do something. We really wanted to be able to do something to honor Dr. King and the legacy that he has left behind, and I think that’s probably one of the most important things for us to be able to do is look for that need and be able to help.”
Carlisle concurred and said the need in Scott County has not diminished and that she encourages others to help out any way they can.
“I definitely think that the need in Scott County for food assistance is high, and I think agencies and even individuals in Scott County are so generous and they just want to find ways to help,” Carlisle said. “The AMEN House is an easy way to connect. All cash and food donations, we will use to fight hunger.”
Kyle Woosley can be reached at email@example.com.