For the 21st year, the Dallas County Sheriff’s Benevolent Association is providing boxes of food to 75 families in Dallas County so that they can eat for a week around the holidays. For about the last 10-15 years, Osmundson Manfacturing Company in Perry has been donating the food to help make this happen.

Each year, Doug Bruce, chairman of Osmundson Manufacturing Company, buys all of the food from Hy-Vee in Perry and the employees from Hy-Vee deliver it to the Dallas County Fairgrounds. It is then boxed up by a group of volunteers, made up of county employees, their spouses and their children.

Bruce said that “maybe 10 years ago” was when he and the company decided to start feeding 75 families for a week around the holidays. His donation helps those 75 families have more around the holidays than if they would usually get from normal donations.

“Normally they give you a meal or two meals, but that doesn’t really help a family at holiday time and it doesn’t help with candy, treats for the kids,” Bruce said. “So we try to get a cross section for 75 families.”

He said that the Dallas County Sheriff’s Department and the Crisis Center work on choosing the families because they are the ones who know who the families in need are.

Bruce said that originally, he helped decide what the food to be donated was going to be. He said they do their best to give them everything they need from the food, to some of the items they need to cook the food.

“They need aluminum pans, usually, to cook things in. You just try to go down through the whole thing,” Bruce said. “You’re missing, sometimes, wax paper and aluminum foil… We’ve got to figure out what they really don’t have. They don’t have jams, they don’t have jelly, they don’t have any butter. They’re out of everything or they wouldn’t need it.”

Bruce said that they give each family canned items like soups and stews, they give them a turkey and a ham, they get bread, Velveeta cheese and much more. He also said that they give fruits, candy and sweets for the children.

He said that he spends around $16,000-17,000 each year on the donation.

Boxing it up for the holidays

Each year, the volunteers go out to the Dallas County Fairgrounds in Adel, take all of the donated food and put it into two boxes for each family that will be receiving the food. With the help of everyone in attendance, about 65 volunteers, the food was boxed up and ready for delivery within just about 30 minutes.

Employees from the Dallas County Sheriff’s Officer, the Attorney’s office, Emergency Management Services and more were involved in getting the food boxed up.

Mike Thomason, director of Dallas County EMS was there helping along with three of his crew members. He said that it wasn’t hard to get people from EMS to volunteer their time and help out.

“What you’ll find in EMS and law enforcement and stuff like that is we’re a bunch of volunteers,” Thomason said. “They usually volunteer in their communities like first responders, fire departments, stuff like that. So the nature of the person that… joins EMS is that type of person already, so this is just in our nature.

“The type of people you’re going to see in EMS are already those who serve others, they’ve already accepted that as their way of life of serving others.”

He said they have helped deliver the food for the past five or six years, but this was their first time helping to fill the boxes. He also said that they also had volunteers from EMS for Shop With A Cop, which is also put on by the Dallas County Sheriff’s Benevolent Association.

Thomason said that after growing up in Perry and seeing the changes over the years, he understands that there are people in need.

“I think the giving of food is far more important than giving them money,” Thomason said.