The Food for the Needy Campaign got a huge boost this weekend as generous people from the community gave of their time and resources during a one-day push to "Fill the Trailer", an event taking place Sunday at Hy-Vee and Piggly Wiggly to benefit local The Salvation Army's food distribution effort.

After reading a story in the Constitution-Tribune about donations lagging for Food for the Needy, which is one of the Salvation Army's biggest food drives, community members Heather Deshayes and Lisa Steele stepped forward to organize the event.

The event began at noon, and by 6 p.m., the drive had raised $3,267 in cash donations and a room filled with food. On top of that amount, was another $800 in cash collected went to purchase canned goods for the Salvation Army.

Salvation Army Major John Flanagan said donations had been down the last several months, and that its pantry had run dry in October.

"We had given out all the food we had," he said.

Work was to begin today on counting all of the food collected.

"We don't have it added, but it is a lot," he said.

Flanagan was overwhelmed by the delivery Sunday evening, when the van and trailer filled with food were unloaded and the dollar amount counted.

"This is just amazing," he exclaimed, as he joined the volunteers unloading the food from the vehicles Sunday evening. "This is a tremendous help for us, and this is greatly appreciated and much needed."

Currently, the Salvation Army has approximately 300 applications from families in the Livingston and Grundy County areas for the Christmas holiday. Food collected will go into Christmas baskets for those in need, and will help stock the pantry shelves.

"It was amazing," said Deshayes of the day. "We were witness to God's miracles all day long. Numerous people came up to us and gave us $1 or $5 and said, 'This is all I have, but I've been on that list, and I'm grateful for it.'"

Many volunteers, organizers, and generous donations made all of it happen in less than four days.

This year's Food for the Needy goal is $10,000, and Sunday's event was a huge boost to the effort. Although the food bins will be collected today, cash donations may still be sent to the Food for the Needy, in care of the Constitution-Tribune, 818 Washington Street, Chillicothe, MO 64601.