Demand for canned goods rising as 'Spooky' food drive kicks off

Demand for canned food donations is up as more and more people in our area struggle to feed their families. (September 23, 2010 / WRDW-TV)

Demand for canned food donations is up as more and more people in our area struggle to feed their families. (September 23, 2010 / WRDW-TV)

News 12 This Morning / Thursday, September 23, 2010

AUGUSTA, Ga. -- One of the worst side effects of a tough economy is the struggle many people go through to feed their families. The Golden Harvest food bank says the need for donations in and around Augusta is growing by the day.

Families who never thought they'd have to ask for help to feed their families are now the ones lining up at soup kitchens like the Master's Table, one of many facilities the Golden Harvest provides for locally.

This week Meriwether firefighters are rolling in giant cans of cans. They've been collecting from churches, schools, and banks in the area for about three weeks.

District 5 Councilwoman Genia Blackwell says she started the drive to show people no matter how tough the economy, you can always help someone else in need. "I think that this has been an opportunity to unite as a community. To show what we're made of. To really show that we are giving, caring, generous community, and that we will stay united."

Fire Chief Joey smith says he's not surprised his volunteer fire fighters pitched in to collect all the donated food. "We're more than glad to help out. To come and help out support the community any way we can. People have to eat. Have to eat to survive. If they don't eat people will perish."

All of these cans go directly to the Golden Harvest food bank in Augusta one of the biggest in the Southeast. Golden harvest services more than four hundred facilities in 30 counties of South Carolina and Georgia. The send food out in giant palettes that weight more than a thousand pounds. Each month, Golden Harvest distributes more than one million pounds of food.

Harvey Bellamy says even with those incredible distribution numbers, the community's needs have hit record-breaking highs all summer. "You realize this food bank can distribute to feed a child, feed a senior, feed someone who's hungry. It's really an eye-opening experience and a blessing indeed."

Harvey says there's always a need and always a way to donate. "One of the next largest food drives coming up is 'Spooky to be Hungry, and it's one of the largest food drives golden harvest has in the year."

Spooky to be hungry is kicking off next week and will feed thousands of local families as the holidays roll around. In 2009 the 'Spooky to be Hungry' drive collected 109,000 pounds of food and more than $59,000 in cash. Those donations translated to 321,871 meals in 30 counties. Bellamy says this year they want to shoot for $65,000 in cash and even more food donations.

Starting next week, giant bins at more than hundred schools, stores, and businesses will boast a "Spooky" sign of a friendly ghost holding a bag of groceries to indicate where everyone can donate. The program is also still seeking volunteers to make this year a success. Bellamy says to call the Spooky Hot-line at 706-736-1199 ext. 229 if you can help out.


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