21 years ago, a Lubbock resident tried to get the community to help donate food during the holiday season to help those less fortunate, and now millions of pounds of food later, the man with the idea to give back to the community still has a voice in this annual project.
"I remember standing out there that first year freezing to death," says Skip Watson.
That was 21 years ago when then NewsChannel 11 news director Skip Watson decided to start a small effort to get the Lubbock community to donate to the South Plains Food Bank.
"We said well, what the heck? It's Christmas, let's see if we can fill up the 18-wheeler with canned goods. That first year we only got 10,000 pounds," he recalls.
Now co-host of the U-Can Share Food Drive, little did he know the effort would snowball from those first 10,000 pounds to this year's goal: 550,000 lbs.
"It's one of those things in life that just grows, and you're glad to be a part of it, but you don't know what's going on because it just keeps growing. It's kind of neat," says Skip.
And that's not all. Skip says every year there are special moments that embody the spirit of the drive. He recalls one that happened almost 15 years ago.
"This guy comes up to us and says 'what do you need' and we said, we need some baby food. We waited for an hour and he finally shows back up. He brought out a couple of grocery baskets with baby food in it. And then here comes two more baskets. What he ultimately had done was gone into that store and bought out the entire stock of baby food."
An effort Skip says was from the man's entire family.
"What he told us was that his family, instead of doing Christmas presents, had been watching U-Can Share on NewsChannel 11, and decided to spend their money giving to the U-Can Share Food Drive," he says.
Aside from the organizations and individuals who donate, Skip gives credit to those who work behind the scenes to make the food drive such a success.
"Over the years, I mean we're going on 21 years now, channel 11 has donated. I mean if you ever sit down and figure out how much time they've donated from their newscast, it is an amazing amount," he explains.
And this week will be no different.
"It's for a lot of people that wouldn't even have a meal at Christmas time if it wasn't for this little effort that we all do in this community," says Skip.
NewsChannel 11 will bring you updates throughout the week on the progress of the food drive just tune in at Noon, 5, 6, and 10. The U-Can Share Food Drive will be held Monday through Saturday at United Market Street, and Tuesday an auction will be held in the Albertson's parking lot at 50th St. and Indiana.