The 14th annual It's Spooky to be Hungry food drive will give Columbia County residents the opportunity to help raise food donations this month before the busy holiday season begins.
Food-drive volunteers will go door-to-door to collect donations for the Golden Harvest Food Bank in several county neighborhoods Saturday. The main collection day for Spooky, however, falls on Halloween, said Vikki Adkins, Golden Harvest's director of development.
"This year, particularly with so many people unemployed and lots of people who have never had to ask for help before going to food pantries, the food bank needs to be able to distribute this food," said Adkins, who also serves as the CSRA coordinator for Spooky.
Adkins said about 200 neighborhoods in eight area counties are participating in the drive. More than 2,800 people volunteered last year, and the drive generated about 115,000 pounds of food and more than $57,000 in donations.
"That is well over 314,000 meals worth of food and funds that were contributed," Adkins said. "It was a very wonderful, successful year."
It's Spooky to be Hungry started in 1992 with one neighborhood in Rochester, Minn. Two years later, three neighborhoods in Columbia County took part in the food drive. Since then, Spooky chapters have arisen in metro Atlanta, the Carolinas, Florida, Massachusetts, Texas and Virginia.
The food drive continues to grow each year, and more volunteers are needed on collection days, Adkins said.
"It was done to be an opportunity for families to get together with their neighbors and build community," she said.
Also, monetary and non-perishable food donations can be dropped off at other county locations. A food barrel will be located at participating businesses, schools and organizations, Adkins said.
Businesses that will be participating in the food drive in the county include: The Columbia County News-Times, all three Columbia County libraries, CoCo's Cabana, Dino's Chicago Express, Columbia County Magazine , Fatz Cafe, Grovetown City Hall, Monkey Joe's, all Queensborough National Bank & Trust branches and Shane's Rib Shack.
For a full list of Spooky drop-off locations, visit www.goldenharvest.org.
The drive, Adkins said, fosters a sense of volunteerism for people of all ages in the community.
"It involves every age group and really gives people a sense of satisfaction," she said. "They're able to make such a big impact with such a little amount of effort."
Adkins encourages people to keep an eye out for neighborhood fliers with information about collection dates and times.
For information or to volunteer, call Golden Harvest's Spooky line at (706) 736-1199, ext. 229.
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