Crothersville turns out for annual toy, food drive



The organizer of the Crothersville FFA Toy and Food Drive never has to look far for help making it happen each year.

Linda Myers, who established the drive 31 years ago, knows she can always count on current FFA chapter members for help, and firefighters with the Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department have been pitching in for years.

But she also can count on former chapter members to come back to give a hand and potential FFA chapter members in the community’s younger children.

Then there’s a whole bunch of ready and willing volunteers to help, such as 10-year-old twin sisters Keegan and Kloe Robinson of Crothersville, whose family has always donated toys and food to the drive in the past.

And they have always helped deliver, too, their mother, Krystal Robinson, said Saturday morning as the family was quickly loading their vehicle full to make a delivery.

There’s plenty of planning and physical labor involved in ensuring the tons of food purchased with funds raised by the chapter and the donated toys get delivered to those in need each year. This year’s tonnage was just south of 20 tons at 19.9375.

Myers said the process of preparing the food and toys for delivery can’t begin until after school let out Friday afternoon. Because she had to finish up grading by 3 p.m., Myers recruited two FFA alumni to begin the hard work.

That pair, Kalynda Hoevener and Noah Hoskins, arrived at 1 p.m. Friday.

“They start dividing all the pallets up,” Myers said.

Hoskins said there were eight pallets, and the process involved placing the food into boxes for families receiving food and toys this year.

“There were 101 this year,” he said. “That’s more than usual. We usually have 96 families.”

Hoskins, who graduated from Crothersville in 2018, said even with the help of current FFA members, the sorting and boxing of food and toys wasn’t finished until midnight Friday. They returned back to the school for breakfast and start delivering at 9 a.m.

He helped with the drive when he was an FFA member and said he continues to do so now for one simple reason.

“I just like what this does,” he said. “Everything about FFA is great.”

It’s the chapter biggest event and is financed through the annual craft show, the sale of porkburgers at community events and other activities.

Hoskins didn’t put a timeline on when he might quit helping the chapter with the drive.

“Probably until I get old,” he said with a laugh.

Hoevener, who also graduated two years ago, said she continues to be involved with the drive because she likes what it does for the community and likes coming back to the school.

“I am going to school for ag education, so it’s all part of that,” she said.

Hoevener said somewhere down the road when she lands a job, she may try to duplicate what Myers has done with the toy and food drive at Crothersville.

“You’ve got to start somewhere,” she said.

Some potential FFA chapter members also came to help Saturday, including Crothersville sixth-graders Hali Burton, 12, Baron Riley, 12, and Laekon Colwell, 11.

Burton, who helped with loading up and sorting boxes, said she showed up because she wanted to help out and liked it well enough that she would plan to help in the coming years.

Riley also helped load boxes on firetrucks.

“I’m the youngest, so everyone in my family has helped before,” he said.

Colwell said she came out to help because she just wanted to help the community.

Senior Rebekah Cook said she has been helping out with the drive since she was in sixth grade when FFA members across from their class started talking about how big the toy and food drive had become.

“It has taught me so much,” she said.

Myers also has a couple of other assistants she relies on heavily: Her daughter, Denise Stevens, who serves as the drive secretary, and Charles Densford, chief of the Crothersville-Vernon Township Volunteer Fire Department.

“He’s my logistics coordinator,” she said of Densford.

“This is actually training for the fire department,” Myers said.

Densford said both he and the department have been involved with the drive for a long time.

“It has always been a coordination of the FFA collecting and the fire department delivering it,” he said.

Densford said many of the 19 firefighters show up each year.

“It helps them get out and find the addresses,” he said. “It’s a lot of fun for them, too. It’s emotional, too, getting out meeting the families and kids.”

The bigger the family, the more boxes of food they get, Myers said, but even a single person gets four or five boxes.

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