The last week in October can be a little spooky for those participating in Halloween, but McDuffie County kids will be taking the entire month to remind others that it can be a little scary to be hungry, too.
Area children and adults will join in a food drive, gathering canned goods and other nonperishable items as part of the It's Spooky to be Hungry annual collection effort based in Evans.
Now in its tenth year, the Spooky to be Hungry drive collects tons of donations for the Golden Harvest Food Bank which serves the Augusta area, including Thomson.
In 2003, the drive collected 61,600 pounds of food and $31,600 in donations across seven counties in the CSRA, all of which went to the Golden Harvest Food Bank, said Evelyn Browne, founder.
"We have wonderful participation in McDuffie County. We are so excited about the tremendous support," Mrs. Browne said.
The local effort, spearheaded by Sheilah Johnson, will include drop boxes for the public in some area businesses and schools. Other organizations are participating in internal drives as well, she said.
Mrs. Johnson led the local drive last year too after being approached by her pastor, David Sisler of Macedonia United Methodist Church.
The drive was supported around the county, and at Mrs. Johnson's small church which collected about 500 pounds of donations and money.
One hundred percent of monetary donations go to buy items, and with the increased buying power of the food bank, "It's amazing what a dollar can buy" she said.
The McDuffie County food drive will run the entire month. A last chance to donate will be held at the Halloween festival beginning at 5:30 p.m. at the Fountain Campground on Hwy. 80 North on Oct. 30. McDuffie County donations will be weighed in with other donations around the CSRA on Thursday, Nov. 4 at 4:15 p.m. at the food bank.
The Spooky to be Hungry drive has attracted national attention with its emphasis on fighting hunger and strengthening communities through the efforts of hundreds of volunteers doing their small piece.
Southern Living Magazine includes a full length article on Spooky to be Hungry in the Georgia Living Section of the October issue. In addition, it was featured on the Wayne Brady Show on television and was recognized earlier this year by USA Weekend magazine as one of the Top 10 Make a Difference Day winners.
The food drive is a grass roots effort staffed entirely by volunteers. It's a part of the Big Changes Start Small non profit charitable organization and has grown each year. The food drive started in three neighborhoods in Evans with door to door canvassing. In high density subdivisions, children have traditionally collected donations on the weekend before Halloween, sometimes wearing their trick or treat costumes and pulling their little red wagons filled with the contributions.
For more information on participating in McDuffie County, call Mrs. Johnson at 595-6146.
A number of businesses are participating internally. In addition, drop boxes for the public are supported by:
21st century CCLC
(Norwood, Dearing, and Thomson Elementary and Thomson Middle)
TMS Beta Club
Briarwood Key Club
Regions Bank (3)
Dearing Baptist Church
First United Methodist in Warrenton