For the needy, a 1-ton harvest

Employees at the Westinghouse electronics plant in Sykesville gave away a ton of food yesterday.

It was more than a ton, in fact, counting the 11 turkeys that the Pittsburgh-based corporation threw in as a match for every 200 pounds of food raised by area employees.


The turkeys and the 2,240 pounds of food and other basic groceries will go to Carroll County families who ask for help for Christmas through the Neighbors in Need program, a clearinghouse for community donations.

Company spokesman Jack Martin said yesterday that the Westinghouse food drive set a record this year. Other plants in Maryland have not ended their food drives, but Sykesville's was a huge success, he said.


The goal had been 1,000 pounds of food, which seemed reasonable since employees brought in 800 pounds last year.

But the food drive became competitive and creative, said Joyce Iglehart, the plant nurse who coordinated it.

On the second day of the drive, the plant's Total Quality Department decided to challenge other departments to see who could gather the most food. Department members collected some from employees, then bought "the heaviest food they could find," such as canned goods, Mrs. Iglehart said.

"They weighed it on a pallet at 400 pounds and said, 'OK, beat this,' " Mrs. Iglehart said.

Other departments came close, she said, but nobody beat them.

Along with the cans of vegetables, fruit and tuna, employees brought in cleaning products and bath soap -- items that are not eligible for purchase with food stamps but still are necessary, Mrs. Iglehart said.

"One department handed out brown bags with employees' names on them, and asked them to fill them and bring them back. Others collected monetary donations. It was a collective effort, and it was very successful," Mrs. Iglehart said.

The plant, which does manufacturing, integration and testing, has 240 employees, Mr. Martin said. Four people were laid off from the plant this fall, and other plants in Maryland have laid off 1,400 people.


"I'm sure everyone here knows someone at another facility that was impacted," Mrs. Iglehart said. "We have a very generous group of employees."