Photo by Virgil Shipley
Volunteers for Food for the Hungry show off the total of $150,423 raised in Saturday’s annual fund-raising drive. The drive met its goal and also received 52 truckloads of food. Pictured at City Hall,are, front row, from left, Major Bob Bender, The Salvation Army; Todd Huber, Time Warner Cable; Dave Bevington, BAS Broadcasting WMVO and Eagle 93.7 FM; John Nixon, Mount Vernon News; Sally Nelson, Nelson & Nelson, CPAs; Joe Rinehart, Mount Vernon Nazarene University; Marcy Rinehart, WNZR; and Joy Harris, Interchurch Social Services. Second row, Matt Starr, I-Conn Video Production; Scott Swingle, I-Conn Video Production; Carrie Swingle, I-Conn Video Production; Kelly Smith, Fredericktown Interchurch Social Services; Debbie Guarnera, Centerburg Interchurch Social Services; Sue Wadian, Danville Interchurch Social Services; and Sandy Rhoton, drive coordinator. Third row, Jan Schild, OSU Alumni Club; Lynne Ricard, Heritage Centre Association; Jenney Murray, co-host; and Erin Ciarimboli, Kenyon College. Fourth row, Patrick Rhoton, Stanley Can; John Feltman, Knox County Career Center; Ginny Hubbard, Psi Iota Xi; and John P. Ruckman, auctioneer.
MOUNT VERNON — The Knox County community once again opened its heart during the annual Food for the Hungry drive which culminated on Saturday. On a beautiful, mid-December day, county residents showed up in downtown Mount Vernon dropping off food donations to help those less fortunate.
Representatives from numerous media outlets helped coordinate the events of the day, along with many volunteers and community representatives. Pickup coordinators Pat Rhoton and Austin Swallow of Mount Vernon Nazarene University were kept busy organizing the drop-offs and getting them transferred to the local Salvation Army.
With the steady trickle of cars pulling up to City Hall throughout the day, it was a sure sign of the selfless giving the Knox County residents have come to show every year.
“My husband and I got a lot of food from Sam’s Club to donate,” said Susan Kahrl. “It’s just one of those things, where you see a need and help out. I feel so blessed to have a good life in Mount Vernon. We just want to share those blessings. It’s really important for all to do this.”
Each year, the Stanley Can Award is given to honor area high school groups with the largest donations during the drive. The 2010 award went to the Knox County Career Center for the 12th straight year, so they kept the traveling trophy once again. Receiving the trophy for KCCC were students Amelia Cline, Sierra Hunt and Marilu Douglas, along with student council advisor Vicki Clark.
“We’re thrilled to have received this award once again,” said Clark. “The administration and staff just want to be able to give something back to the community.”
The top high school individual was Dustin Miller of Mount Vernon High School. He received a $50 gift certificate for being the top donations collector.
The Zelkowitz Memorial Award is presented each year by Mount Vernon Nazarene University to someone who has shown exemplary service to the food drive. This year’s recipients, both from the Knox County Career Center, were Don McDaniel of the Auto Technology program and Tim Hall of the Collision Repair program. Hall and McDaniel have combined their efforts over many years in spearheading projects of restoring vehicles and auctioning them off with proceeds benefiting Food for the Hungry.
Boxes and bags of food were placed outside people’s homes while members of the Shopping Cart Derby came around to pick them up and deliver them to City Hall. It was a busy day inside City Hall as live broadcasts were ongoing for people to watch on local cable television.
As the teams in the Shopping Cart Derby made their way to the town square from their various locations, the first team to arrive was Team WNZR, with Jamie McMillen and Kevin Post manning the shopping cart. They set a record in this year’s event, finishing the competition with a time of 11 minutes.
Gathering the most food in the Shopping Cart Derby was Time Warner Cable with 3,502 items. Collecting the most money was the Mount Vernon News team with $1,008. Of the four media teams competing, a total of $2,181 was collected. Eagle 93.7 and WMVO also participated with a team in the derby.
Psi Ota Xi each year sponsors a challenge for area elementary schools in the food drive. All county and city school joined together in collecting money and food items. In all, a total of 7,867 food items was collected, as well as $5,831.40.
“This is incredible,” said host Marcy Rinehart of WNZR as the presentation was being made for cable broadcast. With eight of the top 10 students present for the presentation, Rinehart asked Cole Alexander why he decided to collect items for Food For The Hungry. “Because it helps other people,” he said.
Joe Rinehart of WNZR gave an explanation of what constitutes a truck load. “People of Knox County are just so giving,” said Rinehart. The formula used is that 1,248 food items make a truckload, or 1,560 pounds. The use of a scales to weigh the food items was donated by The Ohio State University Alumni Club.
With the day’s end approaching, excitement abounded to see if the drive’s goals were reached. The goals were to collect 50 truck loads of food and $150,000. When the announcement was made of the final totals, cheers filled the lobby at city hall as once again, the county generously gave above and beyond what the committee had set as their goal.
The Heritage Centre Association raised $4,395 through an on-going auction that came to fruition on Saturday. Gift baskets and other items donated by downtown merchants for the auction.
Services available through the Knox County Career Center were
As the final numbers were verified by Sally Nelson of Nelson and Nelson CPA’s, the donations totaled 52 truck loads of food and $150,423. “I’m very excited we met our goal,” said drive coordinator Sandy Rhoton. “Everything ran so smoothly at every point. It all went well together. We had some very large donations as well as some small change. It all counts.”