Port Arthur Police Officers Association savors “huge” response to cereal drive

Published 12:19 am Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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The Port Arthur Police Station will look like a big box store this morning, with only one thing on the shelf — cereal boxes.

A hugely successful first time cereal drive hosted by the Port Arthur Police Officers Association pays dividends today as the donations make their way from the police station to Southeast Texas Food Bank.

Hundreds and hundreds of cereal boxes will soon find their way to people in need.

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PAPD Officer Wendy Billiot said response to the five-week drive was huge.

Choosing cereal allowed anybody and everybody to participate, she said.

“I just had so much response from the community, from social clubs and associations to local businesses,” Billiot said. “I got cereal all over the place over here. Once I put it out there, people would just walk in saying, ‘hey, I got cereal.’”

Billiot said donors to the cereal drive wouldn’t necessarily know her or other police officers. They just wanted to help.

One social organization sent two pallets of cereal at one time, and Billiot noted that overflow donations are taking up three-quarters of a coworker’s office.

Following the announcement of the cereal drive in mid-January, Tamara Jarrell, volunteer/food drive department coordinator at Southeast Texas Food Bank, told Port Arthur Newsmedia cereal is a top item at any food pantry.

“Children eat it dry out of a cup,” Jarrell said. “Some people eat it for dinner. They don’t have to cook it. It doesn’t have to be hot. It is a very versatile and quick-going product. It’s off the shelf as soon as we bring it. It’s got a good shelf life.”

According to Jarrell, years of seeing what pantries give away have led to the desire to seek more cereal.

“Families that register with these pantries go in and pick what they want,” Jarrell said. “There is no sense in a pantry giving a bag full of food that (clients) have allergic reactions to or just don’t care for. We like to allow them to choose a certain amount of food off the shelf, and cereal is just one of those things like peanut butter and tuna that go right away.”

According to Billiot, she does not plan to host another cereal anytime soon but is inspired to continue working to provide the food bank with items that help its mission to serve Southeast Texas families in need.

For more coverage, log onto https://www.panews.com/2021/03/04/photos-papd-cereal-drive-satisfies-days-most-important-meal/