American Medical Response and Life Star of Kansas teamed up this weekend to raise more than 2,000 pounds of food for families in need.
AMR's first-ever Fill the Ambulance Food Drive in Topeka took place Saturday at two Dillons locations. The drive collected 2,113 pounds of food for Harvesters Community Food Network—and Dillons Food Stores pledged to match that donation.
Barbara Montgomery, a dispatcher for AMR and chair of the AMR-Topeka employee relations committee, said they weren't quite sure what to expect at their inaugural drive. But donations exceeded what they had hoped for.
"We're hoping to make this an annual event, and just based off of what we're seeing today, I think we could easily do this every year," Montgomery said.
Harvesters Community Food Network provides food to those in need in Shawnee County. Montgomery said her organization partnered with Life Star of Kansas to hold the food drive because it is another way to give back to the community they serve every day.
"We work in this community 24 hours a day, and we see the need for it," she said. "Harvesters has their Thanksgiving program every year, and we thought that 'Hey, this is a perfect time. We can give back to the community.' "
In addition to collecting nonperishable food items in an AMR ambulance at each of the two Dillons sites, the response team brought along their service dog, Stryker. The Life Star flight team also landed its helicopter at the Fairlawn Plaza Dillons for shoppers to see up close.
AMR and Life Star are owned by Global Medical Response, Inc., which provides emergency and medical response services nationwide.
AMR will host another Fill the Ambulance Food Drive next Saturday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., at the Walmart on S.W. Wanamaker road.