McDuffie County folks just keep giving and giving.
This year's "It's Spooky to be Hungry" food drive for the Golden Harvest Food Bank yielded more pounds of food than last year, according to Sheila Johnson, coordinator for McDuffie and Warren Counties.
"I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that we did more than we did last year. I was a little fearful with all of the recent hurricane victim relief efforts, that we might not do as well as we have in the past."
Mrs. Johnson said while she was looking for additional drop-off sites for donations this year, she heard "people mentioning they had just been participating with other relief efforts and doing drives for the hurricanes. And I thought people would just be worn out with it."
Last year, McDuffie County residents donated just under 4,000 pounds of food. This year, the total is 4,241 pounds, and some drop-off sites have not yet turned theirs in, according to Craig Garner, product logistics manager for Golden Harvest Food Bank.
"We took on a few more locations this year, and the poundage was up significantly for the Thomson area." Mr. Garner said.
Mr. Garner said corporate donations to Golden Harvest are down about 15 percent this year after Hurricane Katrina, but the It's Spooky Food Drive donations are up. Mr. Garner said the drive began about 12 years ago in Columbia County, bringing in a couple of thousand pounds of food that year. Since then, the drive has grown to include many surrounding counties. This year, he said the total food drive has brought in "right at 100,000 pounds of food and over $52,000."
"The food bank itself is in Richmond County, so it's great to see agencies and individuals in the outlying counties that are willing to help out," Mr. Garner said.
New drop-off sites this year for McDuffie County included Norwood Methodist Church, First National, SunTrust, and First Citizens Bank, Fluker Communications, and Pine Grove and Union Baptist Churches, according to Mrs. Johnson. She said all branches of Regions Bank have been participating already. Mrs. Johnson said First National Bank chose to raise financial contributions by selling paper ghosts for $1, and having dress-down Fridays, where employees pay to wear t-shirts and blue jeans to work.
Doing this, First National Bank raised $650 dollars, bringing up the total financial donations for McDuffie and Warren Counties to $870.
Mr. Garner said Golden Harvest Food Bank serves Agape Ministries and MANNA in the Thomson area. Donations of canned food items and staple items such as peanut butter, jelly, rice and dried beans are still being accepted at Agape Ministries and MANNA or Golden Harvest Food Bank.
"(It's Spooky to be Hungry) gets bigger and better each year. We have to put more time and energy into coordinating it, but it's so much more food for those who need it," Mr. Garner said. "And that's what we're about, getting hungry folks fed."