A group of about 160 teens converged on neighborhoods throughout Blount County Halloween looking for treats, but not just the sweet kind. They wanted staples, non-perishables in cans.
The annual Trick or Cans food drive for Community Food Connection brought about 10,000 of food into the food pantry for area residents.
Emily DeLozier was parent sponsor for the event and her daughter Sarah DeLozier worked with students Jenny Shock, David Ayers and Alex Orr to organize the food drive.
Students from throughout the area canvassed neighborhoods a week before Halloween, placing fliers in mailboxes to let folks know about the can drive set for Oct. 31.
On Oct. 31, more than 160 students met at New Providence Presbyterian and went out in groups ranging from two to 10 and picked up the food. What made the food drive challenging was the inclement weather. Rain fell for most of the evening but it didn’t diminish the students’ enthusiasm.
“(The drive) did really well considering the weather,” said Emily DeLozier. “We did have people calling to make sure they were coming because of the weather. A lot of people were concerned, wanting to make sure their food got picked up.”
The students accomplished their goal and ended up bringing about 10,000 pounds of food to a U.S. Foodservice truck stationed at the church where parents and volunteers were waiting. “We were waiting at the truck at New Providence, and we loaded the truck. On Sunday afternoon, we went to the Food Connection to unload. Their shelves were pretty empty. A Girl Scout group and Food Connection volunteers helped sort food,” DeLozier said. “It was a lot of fun and a neat way for high school students to Trick or Treat. We really want to thank everyone who contributed by helping collect or donating food.”
There were several businesses that donated money including Pet Supplies Plus, Women’s Care Group, OCI Construction LLC, Dr. Michael Kolarik and the U.S. Army Recruiting office in Alcoa. “U.S. Food Service donated a truck and a driver so we didn’t have to pay for the truck this year, which saved us money,” DeLozier added.
Dean Moss, president of Community Food Connection, was pleased with how much food was collected. “It was unbelievably successful despite the really bad weather. We were not expecting that much. It has helped us out quite a bit,” he said.
Moss said Community Food Connection had a record-breaking month in October. “We fed 5,357 people in one month, and we were only open 13 days in October,” he said. “As you can imagine, that takes a lot of food. Food doesn’t stay on our shelves very long, and we’re dependent on organizations and activities like Trick for Cans. This is our life blood and if these volunteers quit, we would shut the doors. It is vital,” he said.