Hundreds of little red wagons dotted the Augusta area last Saturday as volunteers collected food door-to-door during the annual It's Spooky to be Hungry food drive.
Danny and Tricia Pond, along with their sons Brad (left) and Ryan, pull a wagon door to door in the Rivershyre subdivision collecting canned goods.
Photo by Donnie Fetter
It's Spooky to be Hungry is a campaign in more than 90 area neighborhoods. The event began in just three Columbia County neighborhoods in 1995. The drive raises food and money for Golden Harvest Food Bank.
"I was one of many original volunteers back in 1995 when we started ... and this is one of the first three neighborhoods where this began," said food drive co-captain Debbie Johnson, who lives in Rivershyre subdivision in Evans. "It's been amazing to see how this has grown over the years to include 92 neighborhoods and hundreds of volunteers."
Last year's event saw nearly 1,000 volunteers - more than half of which were children - collecting more than 35,000 pounds of food and more than $18,000 for the Golden Harvest coffers.
This year's food drive took place in nearly 100 subdivisions and neighborhoods in Columbia, Richmond and Aiken counties. Similarly-themed food drives took place in more than 20 schools, businesses and places of worship.
"I don't have any totals to speak of yet, but the signs are that everything went extremely well," said Evelyn Browne, chairwoman and founder of It's Spooky to be Hungry. "We had more volunteers than we've ever had and it's been a joyous and wonderful experience.
"Everybody does a small part, and by working together we've proven that we can really make a difference," said Browne by cell phone from the It's Spooky to be Hungry booth - sponsored by The Augusta Chronicle - at the opening of the Augusta Common."A lot of individual efforts went into making up something of real significance."
The event has been so successful that it was nationally honored this past April by Make A Difference Day as an outstanding regional project.
"This is the perfect time of year for an event like this," said Johnson. "With the holidays around the corner there are going to be a lot of people in need of this food, so we have to keep the shelves stocked at Golden Harvest. When all is said and done, we're hoping to collect around 1,200 to 1,500 pounds of food just from Rivershyre."
The food drive will be capped off with a weigh-in celebration at Golden Harvest Food Bank on Friday. Food- and money-collection totals will be announced.
"I'm overjoyed by the generosity of this community," said Browne. "It's almost unbelievable that so many volunteers and donor households can pull together like they have. They have made this event the success that it is."
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