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How One Family Helps Feed the Hungry

November 4, 2022

Another Way for week of October 28, 2022

How One Family Helps Feed the Hungry

A few years ago I had the honor and pleasure of interviewing one of the most giving persons in our community, Bucky Berry. When he was just five years old, he remembers living in a shack in our city. His family did not have enough money to put food on the table every day. He remembers, though, how the Salvation Army came and brought food bags and toys for Christmas.

Today Bucky is an entrepreneur with a heart of gold and the willingness to work hard. He says he would give away his last quarter. But he started earning quarters and dollars as a child—mowing lawns when he was just a boy— three to four yards a week. He started an official lawn mowing business in 1993, and you sometimes see a rig marked “Bucky Berry Landscaping” parked around town. He cuts 25 to 30 residential and commercial yards through the spring, summer and fall. His wife has worked as a clerk at Kroger over 32 years. 

About 25 years ago the Berrys were thrilled to be expecting a child, who ended up being premature and weighed just 1.8 pounds. Little Brent struggled for his life at a children’s hospital for two months and was finally released. Today Brent loves helping with the food drives which are named in his honor.

Brent and Bucky are a team at the various collection sites they set up around town. Son Brent hands out a slip of paper to customers going into stores listing the various products that work well for the food drives. Bucky happily receives what the shoppers bring back out of the store to donate.

Brett handing out slips of paper with food donation ideas for shoppers.

“This is a pretty giving community,” Bucky explains further. “We meet a lot of people, and businesses come and donate lunch or supper for us or the other volunteers,” notes Bucky. He also enjoys ringing the Salvation Army bell and has done so for 30 years straight. Locally, the Salvation Army food pantry also gets donated perishable food from the Blue Ridge Area Food Bank and other community donations.

“There are many who may be down on their luck and go to bed hungry. If the Salvation Army wasn’t here, they’d be up a creek,” Bucky points out. He notes that about 70 percent of our city children receive free or reduced price lunches and breakfast, which means their family has a low income and may go hungry on weekends or summers when they don’t get two meals a day at school.

Bucky describes the work involved in setting up the food drives, such as securing insurance, permits, banners that cost $700-800 which he arranges for sponsors to cover. “It takes weeks to plan it a big event like that,” he said. “You gotta get meals and drinks lined up for volunteers and 25 different sponsors; there’s a lot involved.”

His memories from childhood when his family was going through hard times drive him forward. “My family wondered where we would get our food, and the Salvation Army kept us from going hungry.” He adds that none of us know when a bad accident or illness means the loss of a job. Anyone can end up needing help.

The Berrys live in a humble house and do so much for our community. Bucky says, “We’re going to keep going at this until we die or Jesus comes back. We do it for the citizens of this community.”

As we get into the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and spirit, you can find a list of suggested items that work well to donate for community food drives, which Bucky put together. Go to It will be posted November 4, 2022.


Send stories or comments to or Another Way Media, P.O. Box 363, Singers Glen, VA 22834.

Another Way is a column by Melodie Davis, in syndication since 1987. She is the author of ten books. Another Way columns are posted at a week after newspaper publication.  

Sidebar: Brent Berry Food Drive suggested items:

Proteins: canned chili; canned stews; soups; canned tuna, chicken, meat, or beef; powdered eggs; peanut butter, baked beans; canned nuts.

Grains: Cereal (hot or cold), rice, pasta products, oatmeal, pancake mix, flour, dried beans, crackers, mashed potatoes, granola bars.

Fruits: Canned fruit/fruit cups, dried fruit (raisins, plums, cranberries), applesauce, 100% juice and juice boxes, jams/jellys.

Vegetables: Canned vegetables, tomato products – spaghetti sauce, etc. V-8 juice

Dairy: Dry milk, evaporated milk, instant breakfast drinks, canned or boxed pudding

Other: sugar, vegetable oil, syrup, homey, salad dressing

Baby products: diapers, wipes, formula, infant cereal, Ensure

Hygiene Items: feminize products, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, soap, shaving items

  1. I’d say Bucky and his family have all the hallmarks of unselfish givers, without a shred of self-promotion. I hope he gets to read this. I’m also impressed with that 1.8 pounder who grew up to be a healthy young man!

    With all the generous examples of giving in my heritage, I’m inspired to give regularly in my city, full of people with needs. Thanks for showcasing this worthy family, Melodie.

    • They are amazing, I don’t know if I’d have that drive to keep organizing and conducting these food drives. Thanks for recognizing their efforts–and sharing your own call to help where needed. Blessings!

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