Skip Watson key to U Can Share’s origins, decades-long success

Published: Dec. 5, 2022 at 3:15 PM CST|Updated: Dec. 6, 2022 at 9:49 AM CST
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - It’s a Lubbock and South Plains tradition: every year, in early December countless volunteers, businesses, community leaders and more come together for the U Can Share drive. It’s come a long way since its debut in 1983.

The man who helped launch the benefit for the South Plains Food Bank was former news director Skip Watson. Before he led the KCBD news team, Watson was an investigative reporter. And, before that, had a successful radio career.

“I grew up listening to Skip on radio,” Abner Euresti said. “He was at KSEL, so he was Mr. news man.”

Those who worked with Skip over the years described him as fierce, dedicated to finding the truth. And, at times, quite direct.

“Grumpy...but at the same time he had a loveable side,” Karin McCay said, laughing. “When you got to know him, he was passionate about news, his family, and, of course, the Food Bank.”

Skip Watson died in 2013 at age 68. Christy Hartin reported then on memories of Skip with his children in this report.

His widow Cindy said recently Skip was focused on details and getting it right.

“Very much a perfectionist,” Cindy Watson said. “Every story, every newscast had to be perfect. And if it wasn’t, he was going to get it fixed real fast.”

It was clear he cared about community service. A call from the Food Bank in 1983 got him thinking.

“He came home and said he had gotten a call from Carolyn Lanier, who was the executive director for the Food Bank. And she told him, ‘we’ve got to have more food, Skip. We don’t have enough. We have way more people than we have food.’

That was when he came up with the concept of the U Can Share Food Drive.”

It was an all-out media blitz.

“Skip was smart,” McCay said. “He launched it on Channel 11 on every newscast for a week. What a great way to introduce something to the community.”

And this use of television caught on.

“Other cities took note of it, too, and began after we started it here.”

Now, for the 40th time, KCBD and the South Plains Food Bank are asking for your support to help those facing food insecurity in our area. One in seven people do not always know where they will get their next meal. It’s one in three children in our area.

“It was small and simple at first,” Euresti said. “But it grew so fast because so many people wanted to help.”

Some things have evolved. That first year Skip used a pickup and small travel trailer to ask for canned goods. Now it’s a large, multimedia operation. And we ask for monetary donations, which go further in providing more meals. You can now donate online and also bid in the online auction.

But one thing hasn’t changed. U Can Share remains an important part of what we do at KCBD. Thanks to Skip’s vision decades ago.