Volunteers will begin canvassing neighborhoods throughout Columbia County Saturday collecting donations for the annual It's Spooky to be Hungry food drive.
Hunger is a frighteningly real possibility for many in the CSRA, said Vikki Adkins, director of development with Golden Harvest Food Bank. The organization distributes food generated by the drive, and Adkins said Spooky is needed now more than ever.
Golden Harvest provides food for charitable organizations in a total of 30 counties in Georgia and South Carolina, which is five more than last year, Adkins said. In those counties, one in five children is at risk of going hungry.
"That means they are living at poverty level or below," said Adkins, who is also the CSRA chapter coordinator for Spooky. "And it even increases in some of the rural areas, where it is one in four children."
Spooky was founded in Minnesota in 1992 by Evelyn Browne, who brought the food drive with her when she moved to Columbia County in 1995. The drive has grown to include chapters in metro Atlanta, North and South Carolina, Texas, Virginia, Mississippi and Massachusetts.
Now in its 13th year in the CSRA, Spooky is the largest food and fund-raising event for Golden Harvest. Last year, more than 2,700 Spooky volunteers collected about 100,000 pounds of food and $58,000 in donations; enough for about 312,000 meals, Adkins said.
Spooky accepts donations of non-perishable foods, as well as cash or checks. All monetary donations to Spooky go directly to food distribution and not to administrative costs, Adkins said.
"We can leverage a dollar that someone gives into seven dollars of distributed food," she said.
Donations can also be made during business hours this week at the offices of The Columbia County News-Times in the Publix shopping center on Washington Road, at the Columbia County Library and at the Marshall Family Y.
For more information about the food drive and to find a drop-off point or nearby neighborhood, call Adkins at the Golden Harvest Food Bank at (706) 736-1199, or visit www.spookytobehungry.org.
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