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Drive collects more than 61 tons of oatmeal for area homeless

A holiday food drive for Charlotte’s homeless easily surpassed its goal, with residents and companies donating more than 122,000 pounds of oatmeal.

Bob Bishop, a Myers Park Baptist Church deacon who conducts the annual food drive, had hoped to collect at least 100,000 pounds of oatmeal. People from as far away as Atlanta responded with record donations.

Donors to the “Oatmeal and Staples Food Drive” ranged from large companies to a 3-year-old girl who gave all the money she had, Bishop said.

The 61-plus tons of oatmeal donated this year is enough for more than 2 million breakfasts, he noted.

“(Donors) are giving people the opportunity to start the day with a nourishing, healthy meal,” said Bishop, now 66. “And it helps the shelters with their bottom lines.”

Bishop, a longtime volunteer at a number of charities, including the Men’s Shelter of Charlotte, began the drive six years ago. Since then, Charlotte-area residents have responded by donating more than a half-million pounds of oatmeal.

At the conclusion of this year’s food drive, Bishop posted a message of thanks on his Facebook page:

“I know I am truly blessed to have such wonderful people support my efforts to feed the hungry of our city, but the biggest thank you comes from all the homeless & hungry that will benefit from your kindness & compassion,” he wrote.

Born in Leicester, England, Bishop worked in textile engineering, a field that brought him to Charlotte.

In 2011, he was given the Governor’s Award for Volunteer Service, an honor bestowed on the state’s most dedicated volunteers.

Alexander: 704-358-5060
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