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Key Club Can-A-Thon exceeds 11,000 goal

By Staff
Tracy B. Cieniewicz, Hartselle Enquirer
Bags, boxes and even a wheelchair load of donated food items filled Hartselle High School's audio/visual room recently.
The Key Club Can-a-thon is an annual event that collected 22,000 food items last year. This year's goal was 11,000, but Key Club Sponsor Leah Blackwood said she wasn't worried about meeting the goal–even though HHS students and Key Club members had already given so generously to hurricane relief efforts this school year.
"I knew because of the hurricane relief that we wouldn't double our goal like we did last year, but the students did excellent and I knew they would," Blackwood explained as she tallied the results. "I'm so proud of my kids because they work so hard to help others."
HHS Key Club members worked for two weeks to promote competition among fellow classmates, Blackwood explained, to raise the non-perishable food donations for Faith House, a Good Samaritan Ministry of Hartselle's First United Methodist Church.
The group exceeded its goal of 11,000 and collected 12,832 food items.
"I'm very surprised we exceeded our goal," Key Club senior Cline Thompson said when Blackwood announced the final tally. "Everyone has given so much already with the hurricanes. It's just great that they kept giving."
HHS freshman Frank Goodwin said he enlisted the help of his family and neighbors, even knocking on doors, to collect healthy canned vegetables and fruits for Faith House.
"It's great to help people in your hometown," Goodwin said. "We need to take care of each other."
"I think this is awesome," Key Club senior Sadie McElwee said as she examined the room full of food. "I was worried we would end short of our goal, but I knew even if we did that anything we can do would help."
FUMC member Joy Groover, who works with the Good Samaritan Ministry and Faith House, said the food will be used to feed 75 families this Christmas, as well as numerous families throughout the coming year.
"I'm overjoyed and overwhelmed and as pleased as I can be," Groover said as she sorted the donations and stocked the shelves of the food pantry.
Groover said students also collected many items, like canned fruit and salad dressings, that the pantry seldom receives.
"This is really fantastic. We were ready for it and I can tell that the kids really put a lot of thought into it. There's a ton of different things here."