Most people have heard the old saying “one person can make a difference.” And one Sheridan resident is trying to do just that; make a difference in the lives of those in need.
Joanne Theiss of Sheridan began her effort to make a difference last year with a cereal drive she held during Christmas on the Square with the help of her husband, Ron Theiss. The idea for a local cereal drive began a few years ago when Theiss joined her co-workers in volunteering to transport collected items from Sheridan Middle School's annual canned food drive to Spirit of Sharing (S.O.S.).
"The Sheridan Middle School has held a canned food drive for several years. A few years ago myself and the other agents of Southern Homes Realty volunteered to transport the collected items for the middle school to S.O.S.," Theiss explained. "I started visiting with the manager, Victoria Holmes, who expressed that they were very appreciative of these items, but could always use more. My husband, Ron, and I decided a cereal drive would be a small way we could give back to our community and help those that are a little less fortunate."
Theiss and her husband set up a booth at Christmas on the Square in December last year and were able to collect approximately 45 items and about $25 in cash. They delivered all the donated items to S.O.S.
"I would love to at least double that amount this year," Theiss said. "I have three kids, two of which are teenage boys who always seem to be hungry. I may not always have exactly what they want to eat, but there is always something in the house to eat. I can't stand the thought of a child going to bed hungry at night."
This year Theiss will set up at Timberfest on Oct. 4-5 for her cereal drive. She said they will accept all brands, sizes, etc. of new, unopened cereal. In addition, Theiss will also be asking for donations of cereal, pop tarts, granola bars, peanut butter, Vienna sausages, tuna fish, ravioli, etc. Basically, she is asking for food items that children can easily prepare themselves.
"There are children who are basically on their own during the day trying to find something to eat," Theiss explained. "I am asking for items that that can easily be prepared by these children without requiring a stove.”
All donations can be dropped off at the tent booth Theiss will have on the Square anytime during Timberfest hours. Theiss and her husband will deliver all donated items to S.O.S. after Timberfest is over.
Theiss said she hopes to double last year's donations at the very least. She said last year she received donations mostly from individuals, but hopes that will expand to businesses as well.
"I plan to make this a yearly event, and would like for the local businesses to get involved and maybe even have a friendly competition with each other to see who can collect the most," Theiss said.
She said S.O.S. is currently providing meals to approximately 250 families and the need for donations is great and continuous.
“People are still recovering from the bad economy, and some just need a little extra help," she added. "S.O.S. is currently providing meals to approximately 250 families in our county each month. They receive donations from the Rice Depot, Food Bank, and some local churches as well. But with 250 boxes of cereal going out each month, it doesn't last long."
Furthermore, for every item or cash donation received, the person donating will be able to enter a drawing for three different prizes. A 4x6 ground hunting blind has been donated by Danny McGarrah valued at $175, as well as a gift from Merle Norman donated by Delores Kingston, and a basket full of home goods donated by Joanne Theiss of Southern Homes Realty.
"Thank you Grant County for your support during Christmas on the Square last year, and I look forward to seeing you during Timberfest," Theiss said.