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The city of Henderson's annual food drive helps local food pantries and organizations

To help food pantries and service organizations in need, the city of Henderson launched its Spirit of Giving food drive to collect goods for community organizations in July.

The drive raised 13,367 pounds of food and $10,850 in cash.

The donations are expected to benefit Our Savior's Lutheran Church food pantry, 59 Lynn Lane, the Boys & Girls Clubs of Henderson and Giving Life Ministries food pantry, 416 Perlite St.

"We couldn't do anything without the donations we get," said Shane Smith, one of the administrators of the food program at Our Savior's Lutheran Church. "It was definitely an answer to our prayers."

Our Savior's Lutheran Church provides a food program from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday. A food pantry is available by appointment on Wednesday nights.

People can stop by the church from 4 to 7 p.m. Wednesday to register.

Smith said the church served about 750,000 pounds of food to about 80,000 people in 2011.

"We have been blown away by the needs of the community," Smith said.

The church gets the bulk of its goods from Three Square food bank, as well as from other donations. Smith said he is thankful the city is having a drive to help replenish the pantry's stock.

The city's drive began in 2008, said Nanci Bowen, who works in the community development department.

"It started out with just community development," Bowen said.

For Thanksgiving, the department assembled boxes of food for families. The city partnered with Albertsons, which donated canned hams and gift cards for families.

"We also received donations from Smith's, Anderson Dairy and Ocean Spray," Bowen said.

In 2009, the challenge was opened citywide to see which department could collect the most goods.

Bowen said that since the drive began, donations have grown. By mid-July of this year, city employees had already collected more than 6,000 pounds compared with 2009, when they collected 3,567 pounds.

"People have been great," Bowen said.

For three years, the city's Finance Department collected the most donations. This year, the Municipal Court won with 3,681 pounds of food collected.

The city decided to move the drive from November to July this year.

"We do a lot of outreach already during the holiday season," Bowen said. "It seems like we had a lot of things going on, and this takes some of the pressure off."

Bowen added that this might be more beneficial to the food banks where the donations are targeted.

"Some of the food pantries might be running low during the summer," Bowen said.

Smith said summer, especially July, is hard for the church.

"It is when the giving spirit from Christmas starts to run out," Smith said.

Because of the city's donation, the church might be sustained until the holiday season when it sees another boost of donations, he said.

Along with giving back to the community, each year the winning department gets a prize.

"One year we gave the winning department pies," Bowen said. "Another year we brought in pizza for the department. The department will get pizza again this year."

To encourage more involvement, Bowen said, the head of the winning department will have a chance to throw the first pitch at the Las Vegas 51s game Aug. 16.

Anyone wanting to donate to Our Savior's Lutheran Church can call 565-9154.

For information about Giving Life Ministries, call 565-4984.

For information about the Boys & Girls Clubs of Henderson, call 565-6568.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at or 387-5201.