Mississippi club helps feed needy at Christmas

HATTIESBURG, Miss. — Relying on his background in marketing, Mark Byrne put together a successful food drive for his bass club’s community project over the holidays.

The Petal Bass Club member has always felt strongly about helping the less fortunate, so when club president Teb Jones hooked him up with the local food bank, Byrne was ready to spearhead a food drive for Christmas. “We do that every year,” said Byrne of his club’s Christmas project.

Byrne estimated it took him a couple of weeks to make 10 to 15 phone calls to retail stores and wholesalers for donations of dry goods such as nuts, crackers, gum and candies. “I called people I knew and twisted their arms,” said Byrne, who is the webmaster for the Mississippi B.A.S.S. Federation Nation.

The arm-twisting and his connections paid off as Byrne received donations of 68 cases of food items weighing 550 pounds. He spent the morning of Dec. 13 making the rounds to collect the goods and delivered the cases to the food bank that afternoon. He also spent the day delivering food to two other food banks for food drives he conducted for his mother and his in-laws. His delivery was timed right for the food bank to process and have the items ready for the needy in the community by Christmas.

Byrne said a food drive is a worthwhile project for other clubs to try during the holiday season. “It’s easy and it just doesn’t take that much time,” he said. “The collecting and dropping off was the most time-consuming aspect of it.”

The Mississippi angler suggests a club should start planning such a project in July to give members plenty of time to find the right contacts. “The dynamics of a club is that for the most part everyone does something different for a living and they always know somebody,” he said. “You’d be surprised at the people in your club who know people who can help.”

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