It's Spooky to be Hungry shattered all previous records in the 10th year of the neighborhood-based food drive, bringing in 46 percent more money and 40 percent more food than in 2003, the drive's organizers announced this past week.
Evelyn Browne (left), founder and co-chairman of the It's Spooky to be Hungry food drive, and co-chairman Debbie Johnson, unveil the weight of food collected in this year's drive. The 10th year of the neighborhood-based drive brought in 86,473 pounds of food and more than $46,000 for Golden Harvest Food Bank, where the weigh-in was held Thursday. The drive raised $31,600 and brought in 61,600 pounds of food in 2003.
Photo by Barry Paschal
At the drive's weigh-in, held Thursday at Golden Harvest Food Bank in Augusta, Spooky co-chairwoman Debbie Johnson said this year's haul from 158 neighborhoods "totally smashed" the amounts from the previous year.
More than 2,400 volunteers - up from 1,600 in 2003 - collected 86,473 pounds of food and $46,096 for Golden Harvest, Johnson said. In 2003, the drive brought in 61,600 pounds of food and $31,600.
"Spooky is still our largest single food drive," said Golden Harvest Associate Director Barry Forde. "We get more pounds of food from the (National Association of Letter Carriers), but more monetary donations from Spooky."
That money, Johnson said, translates into significant help in fighting hunger in Golden Harvest's 25-county area. Because the agency's buying power enables it to stretch each donated dollar by a factor of seven, Spooky donations this year will yield the equivalent of $322,000 in spending ability.
Combined with the food collected in the drive, Golden Harvest will be able to provide more than 200,000 meals, Johnson said.
"Apparently, this idea works," Spooky founder and co-chairman Evelyn Browne told a celebratory lunch gathering of volunteers Friday at the Meeting Center in Evans.
Started in three Columbia County neighborhoods in 1995, the door-to-door, all-volunteer food drive has grown across the Augusta area and now includes 158 neighborhoods and 81 businesses, churches and other collection sites in Georgia and South Carolina.
Spooky also has expanded into two satellite food drives in Greenwood and Summerville, S.C., and thanks to an influx of inquiries generated by a high-profile story in Southern Living magazine, the drive might expand to other areas of Georgia in 2005.
"We hope next year we'll have new satellites all around Georgia," Browne said. "We're looking forward to growing even more."
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