Thomson Health & Rehabilitation is repeating a program that gathered more than 2,000 pounds of food for local charities last year.
The food drive competition will crown a Ms. Sweetheart and a Mr. Sweetheart at the Thomson facility on Valentine's Day, Feb. 14.
The 2011 campaign kicked off Jan. 18. Sponsors were on hand to greet the residents they were supporting.
This is the fourth year for the project.
Tameka Franklin, the activities director, said she expected at least 15 businesses to support this year's effort.
"We try to fight hunger in the CSRA and help with three local charities, while also giving the residents some meaningful activity so they can feel self-worth and help someone," Ms. Franklin said.
Each resident designates the charity he or she will support. The options are Manna Inc., Agape Ministries and the McDuffie County Animal Shelter. Donations to the animal shelter can include cash gifts, cat and dog food and cat litter.
Residents are paired with an associate partner from the health facility and with a community sponsor, such as a bank or organization.
"They can just call the facility and ask for the activities department, and we just encourage everybody to be involved," Ms. Franklin said. "We're kind of leaning on everybody who helped last year, but we're also asking everybody to get involved."
Supporters may contribute nonperishable food items, and each participating resident will be assigned a box to collect canned goods and other food. "They can help the residents solicit canned goods, so each canned good or other nonperishable item that is brought in in their honor, they receive one point," Ms. Franklin said.
She said residents are excited about the program and check their donation totals daily.