OGDEN -- Sherry Tolman had $12,000 and 1,200 families to help, so she got to work and went shopping.
The goods she bought ended up being the largest donation to a food bank in the Top of Utah this year, said Tolman, community coordinator for Great Salt Lake Minerals Corporation.
This is the second year GSL has donated thousands of dollars' worth of goods to Catholic Community Services Joyce Hansen Hall Food Bank, Tolman said.
Need at CCS is up 30 percent, and the people these goods will help could not be served without donations from businesses and residents, said Marcie Valdez, director of Ogden's CCS at 2504 "F" Ave.
Valdez said the food bank counts on holiday donations to support it until the Boy Scout food drive in March, and GSL's donations helped fill the 1,200 Christmas boxes with food and hygiene supplies for local families.
"We saw a need in the community and as a stable, profitable company, we had to do that (donate) for our neighbors," Tolman said.
"These guys are the heroes," she said, gesturing to food bank workers.
"They're here every day serving the community."
The families CCS serves are always grateful for the help, Valdez said. Many have been laid off recently and are looking for assistance while they try to find a job.
Brad Drake, executive director of CCS in Utah, said the organization has such a broad spectrum of services that it's hard to put a number on how many people are helped, but about 330,000 meals a year are served at its Salt Lake City location.
Community need was obvious, Tolman said, and the company chose to give the majority of its donation in Weber County, where most of its employees live.
"As an employer, we see more and more people coming through the door begging for jobs," Tolman said. "And now we have very low turnover, where two years ago it was much higher."
Seeing how desperately donations were needed, Tolman said, she insisted that money to help residents be included in the annual budget, and corporate headquarters agreed.
Valdez said many people who have a stable income and enough money to pay the bills take those things for granted, not realizing there are many people in the community who do not live as comfortably. When people understand the need, however, they step up to help.
"People are so willing to help, if you just tell them what you need," she said. "... Every little bit does make a difference."