Food Drive Making Strides

Salvation Army: Area Need Remains Critical

Posted: March 15, 2014

Audrey Smith of Harrisonburg gives a bag of food to James “Bucky” Berry during the Brent Berry Food Drive at Red Front Supermarket on Friday morning. (Photos by Nikki Fox)
James “Bucky” Berry takes donations in the parking lot of Red Front Supermarket on Friday for the Brent Berry Food Drive. Donations will be accepted through Sunday.

HARRISONBURG — For the past week, Harrisonburg High School football players have been helping to collect food for the Brent Berry food drive being held at the Red Front Supermarket on Chicago Avenue.

So far, the community has donated more than 5,000 items. The food is being stored on a Harrisonburg public transit bus parked in the store’s parking lot. It’s more than halfway full.

“We’re more than willing to do whatever we can,” said Chris Thurman, the team’s head football coach, who was out at the store Friday. “You can’t go wrong trying to help people.”

The Salvation Army hosted a drive during the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, but that wasn’t enough to last through the winter months.

In a typical month, the organization provides 400 to 500 area families with food.

“Everything we’ve collected at Christmastime has been gone for a month,” said Capt. Duane Burleigh of the local Salvation Army. “We’ve been purchasing the food. [The food drive] comes at a great time.”

In addition to the football coach, Harrisonburg Fire Department firefighters and officers from the Harrisonburg Police Department stood outside the supermarket Friday morning helping to collect items.

James “Bucky” Berry said George’s poultry plant in Harrisonburg donated roughly 700 chickens, or about $5,000 worth of meat, to the food drive. He said those seeking help from the Salvation Army might now being able to get more than canned goods.

“You’ll get a complete meal,” he said.

The Berrys have been hosting drives for about five years. Bucky Berry said the community, and the Salvation Army, have a big place in his heart.

“The Salvation Army helped me when I was little,” said Berry, who said he grew up poor.

Donations will be accepted at the store through Sunday.

Contact Pete DeLea at 574-6278 or

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