There was nothing scary about the amount of food and money raised nor the number of volunteers who helped with the ninth annual It's Spooky to Be Hungry food drive for the Golden Harvest Food Bank.
With more than 1,500 volunteers, this year's drive collected 58,850 pounds of food and $29,144, breaking "every single record by any measure we've ever kept," said Evelyn Browne, the founder and a co-chairwoman of the drive.
"We have no major donors; this all came from volunteers," Ms. Browne said. "It all came one dollar and one can at a time. Every cent goes to Golden Harvest."
Last year, about 1,200 volunteers helped gather 46,000 pounds of food and $24,000.
Ms. Browne said she never expected such success from what started as an idea sparked when sitting and chatting with a friend in Minnesota.
"I thought it would be a good way to help my local food bank, meet neighbors and involve kids in an opportunity to help others," she said.
She held drives for two years in Minnesota before moving to Columbia County, where she held the first Spooky drive with three neighborhoods in 1995.
Now the drive has grown to 130 sites in Richmond, Aiken, Lincoln, Warren, McDuffie, Edgefield and Columbia counties. Golden Harvest Executive Director Michael J. Firmin likened Ms. Browne's efforts to the beginning of Golden Harvest.
"We're two grass-roots organizations founded because of a need to feed the hungry ... to unify the community," he said.
Ms. Browne was especially grateful for help from the children who made up half of the volunteers.
Nine-year-old Bryce McKnight spent his fall break helping his mother, Nora, who was the Woodward Place neighborhood captain, walk door to door passing out fliers, then later driving to collect food.
"I wanted to help people," the Grovetown Elementary School fourth-grader said.
Having volunteered for his fifth year, Jacob Kerlin, 13, of Evans has no plans to stop.
"I like giving to my community. I like helping out," he said.
Laurie Harmon, the food drive and events coordinator for Golden Harvest, said the Spooky drive is the largest of the year in terms of food and money combined and played a significant part in the 8.6 million pounds of food distributed throughout six counties in South Carolina and 25 in Georgia last year.
Reach C. Samantha McKevie at (706) 823-3552 or email@example.com.
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