Richmond and Columbia counties will be competing this weekend for a good cause.
On Saturday, the Evans Lions Club will be collecting nonperishable food items in the Kroger parking lot on Washington Road in Evans, while The Salvation Army will set up its display at the Kroger on Washington Road at Alexander Drive in Augusta. Food can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Food collected in Richmond County will assist The Salvation Army’s local programs in addition to the Masters Table Soup Kitchen in downtown Augusta.
In Columbia County, donated food will go to Columbia County Cares food pantry in Appling and the New Hope/First Baptist Church Bridge Ministries.
“It can be boxed food or it can be canned food, either one,” said Susanne Beeland, of the Evans Lions Club. “Anything (that’s) nonperishable.”
Beeland encourages participants to drop off food items such as canned meats and fruits, peanut butter, and cereal in addition to more traditional canned food staples.
Law enforcement and firefighters from both counties also will be on hand to help each team collect food, Beeland said.
“We want the community to feel that they’re helping their neighbors, that we are working together to knock out hunger,” she said.
“I don’t know how to express how important this is,” said Columbia County Cares Director Dave Iverson. “I’ve been looking forward to this for a couple of months.
“Food drives are absolutely essential to keep this operation in business.”
Iverson said that, with the exception of food drives, the pantry must purchase all food that is distributed.
The food pantry also assists Columbia County Connections in feeding hungry children while
school is out for summer break, he said.
“It’s vitally important,” Iverson said of food drives. “We start to lose out on our food drives during the summer because a lot of our food drives are conducted by the schools.”
The team that brings in the most pounds of food and can build the tallest food pyramid will win bragging rights for the year.
“We have to beat Richmond County,” said Beeland, with a laugh. “They’re bigger than us, so we really have to work harder, but we can do this.”