• Bob Vlach, Woodford Sun Staff

Yokohama workers donate 6,468 pounds of food


EMPLOYEES AT YOKOHAMA loaded a pallet with canned goods that were donated to a church in Hazard, where about 250 boxes of food are given to needy families twice a month (Photo submitted)

Employees at Yokohama Industries Americas, Inc., in Versailles donated 6,468 pounds of nonperishable food items to feed less-fortunate families in Eastern Kentucky. Hazard native Jane Sizemore made her coworkers aware of the hardships being faced by families in her hometown after a conversation with a friend, whose family started a church there. During their conversation, Mark Miller told Sizemore that Willow Fern Church, which distributes about 250 boxes of food to needy families twice a month, had run out of green beans and corn. Sizemore then approached her co-workers about organizing a canned food drive. Once she was given the go-ahead, "I don't think anybody had any idea that it was going to take off and go like it did," she said. The food drive started on Feb. 2 and continued until Feb. 13, with the team donating the most pounds of canned goods announced on Valentine's Day. As the donations continued rolling in, a Jeep was no longer large enough to transport the 2,475 pounds of donated food that was delivered on Friday, Feb. 10. Sizemore said she could not believe it when her coworkers donated nearly 4,000 more pounds of canned goods by that next Monday, Feb. 13. "Seeing all of the food just everywhere, it just brought tears to your eyes ... It's just overwhelming," said Yokohama employee Stacie Johns. The two teams vying for a pizza party in this "friendly competition" just kept bringing in load after load of canned goods - all the way up to a midnight deadline. Senior supervisor Brian Collins's second-shift team members (zone 1) won the competition with their final run to the grocery store just before midnight. "We've got a lot of good people here, and we expected them to help out," said Collins. "It wasn't just our employees," he added. "It was their families and their kids. Everybody got involved." A second delivery to Hazard was so large that it had to be made with a rented U-Haul. Plant manager Walt Williams describes his employees' "Operation I Can" as "people making a difference" by embracing a social responsibility. Another example of them wanting to make "a difference" is an annual donation to the Ronald McDonald House, he said. They do good deeds all the time," Sizemore said.

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