Churches organize can drive contest for children

Effort will increase food bank supplies, which drop off during summer

Traditionally, summer is a time that the Interfaith Food Bank is in short supply.

So the outreach group of St. Mark's Episcopal Church and Lutheran Church of Grace has decided to help.

"We thought it was a good cause. It's something that needs to be done," group member Millie Blackstun, 15, said. "The food bank needs more food, and we thought it was something that needed to be done."

The group is sponsoring a contest for children who collect cans and other nonperishable food items for the food bank.

First Christian Church, First Congregational Church, St. John's Greek Orthodox Church and St. Michael's Catholic Church also are participating.

"We just want to keep active all the time, and our main focus is world hunger," said Barbara Baker, a member of the outreach group and St. Mark's. "Of course, we start locally."

Baker also volunteers at the food bank, and she said that it recently fulfilled 16 orders.

"It just took so much food from our shelves," she said. "In the summertime, there's not too many drives."

Most donations come in around Christmas time, leaving the shelves bare by July. The bank buys some of its supply, but it relies on donations for the bulk of its food.

The contest is divided into four age groups: kindergarten and younger, elementary school, fifth- through eighth-grade and high school. Those donating should indicate their names, ages and number of items they are donating.

"Children who bring in the most cans in each age group will receive prizes," Baker said.

The rewards have yet to be determined. The contest starts Tuesday and runs through Labor Day.

Blackstun hopes the drive makes people realize that hunger is an issue everywhere, but that efforts have to start locally.

"It makes people more aware," she said. "It's not just in our hometown. It's all over."

For more information, call Baker at 824-3548 or Krump at 824-6867.

Michelle Perry may be reached at 824-7031 or mperry@craigdailypress.com

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