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Gift Of Giving Pays Off For Riverbank
Riverbank Christian Food Sharing volunteers gathered early Friday morning prior to their regular community food distribution duties to receive a generous check from Save Mart in the Crossroads from a holiday collection. VIRGINIA STILL/THE NEWS

The sun was shining and the air was crisp as Riverbank citizens began to line up at the Scout Hall this past Friday morning to pick up some necessities distributed by the Riverbank Christian Food Sharing organization. Along with the regular food distribution on Fridays, volunteers and organizers were presented with a check from Save Mart store manager Luke Houston and assistant store manager Mike Lawson for their “Give. Share. Care.” program that they participated in this past holiday season.

“Save Mart was great,” said Riverbank Christian Food Sharing co-chair Lynda Silva. “They actually reached out to us. This was a donation campaign they had at all of the stores I believe.

“Riverbank Christian Food Sharing wants to thank Save Mart Crossroads, Manager Luke Houston, its employees and all of the Save Mart shoppers that gave to this generous donation.”

Houston contacted co-chair Julie Boos and the organization was set up to participate in this program for the first time.

“This was our first experience working with them on a project like this but we do pick up donated items from them three times a week,” added Silva. “Our food bank takes pride in providing food to those in need living in Riverbank each Friday.”

Save Mart, in the Crossroads Shopping Center, during the holiday campaign offered shoppers the option to donate $1 to $5 and 100 percent of the proceeds were issued to the local food bank. This past Friday Houston and Lawson presented Christian Food Sharing a check for a total of $2,850.

“Every year we have our give, share, care program where we have our holiday food drive where customers can give donations and it stays local,” stated Houston. “This is a great group. They come and get donations from us, from our breads and I have gotten to know them over the last two and half months a little bit better than I have prior to that so it has been great.”

Houston was previously a manager at the Save Mart in Riverbank and then went to another location. He has been a Store Manager with Save Mart for 21 years and has been back at the Riverbank Save Mart for the past year and a half.

“Donations like this means you are helping your neighbors that might be struggling or needing a helping hand,” expressed Silva. “All food purchases are from local merchants so the money donated stays in the local community. We have ordered 1,000 pounds of rice and 1,000 pounds of oatmeal, which are both staples for our recipients.”

Save Mart, Lucky, and FoodMaxx grocery stores hold the holiday giving campaign during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons to help feed the hungry by donating to three dozen food banks throughout California and Northern Nevada. The generosity of shoppers in those stores donated more than $316,000.

“This money, even though we are presenting the check, was from the people of Riverbank that gave back to their own town,” explained Houston. “So it was really cool.”

With great appreciation for such a large donation, Silva explained that all the support and efforts made by the community will ensure that Riverbank residents will have food for their families.