Evelyn Browne, organizer of "It's Spooky to be Hungry," announces the totals from the 2002 food drive. More than 46,230 pounds of food and $24,280 in donations.
Photo by Jim BlaylockIt keeps getting bigger and bigger.
At the official weigh-in Friday, Evelyn Browne, founder and organizer of It's Spooky to be Hungry, announced that the event gathered 46,230 pounds of food and raised $24,280 in donations for Golden Harvest Food Bank.
The donations were collected by hundreds of volunteers visiting their neighbors from door to door with little red wagons and asking for help. The totals also include associated food drives that took place in more than 20 local schools, businesses and places of worship.
"I'm overwhelmed at the success of this," said Browne. "With the economy in the shape that it's in, for people to have given so much of themselves to help their hungry neighbors is exciting and encouraging. The generosity of this community and our volunteers truly overwhelms me."
The event began in 1995 in three neighborhoods with a handful of volunteers. In 2002, It's Spooky to be Hungry has grown to include 93 neighborhoods and more than 1,200 volunteers in Columbia, Richmond and Aiken counties.
The Halloween-themed food drive has been so successful that it was announced at the weigh-in that a national food-gathering association has invited Browne and Golden Harvest Food Bank Executive Director Michael Firmin to teach a workshop on the event next year in Hollywood, Calif.
Another mark of It's Spooky to be Hungry's success is that the Dannon Company awarded Golden Harvest with a $10,000 donation, in Browne's and her family's names, as part of their Families Feeding America contest.
According to a study published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 33 million people in the U.S. lived in households deemed hungry or at risk of hunger in 2000.
The eighth annual food drive and fund-raiser is an all-volunteer event to raise food and community support to fight hunger.
"For the first time ... I can say to myself and to others that we are actually in sight of ending hunger in our community," said Firmin in his speech to the attendees of the weigh-in ceremony. "And It's Spooky to be Hungry is a major reason for that."
In her speech to the audience, Browne said, "Our totals are the results of thousands of individual donors. When we put our hearts and our minds together, There's no end to the good we can do."
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