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Rowan Helping Ministries’ Trick or Treat So Others May Eat food drive starts Sunday

More than 300 youth will begin canvassing area neighborhoods this weekend — not to collect Halloween treats for themselves, but to gather food for families in need.

Rowan Helping Ministries’ annual event, Trick or Treat So Others May Eat, will kick off Sunday when church youth groups, Boy Scout and Girl Scout troops, and other youth organizations begin distributing event information and food collection bags in area neighborhoods. The groups will return to the neighborhoods by Oct. 26 to collect donated food. Pick-up dates will be included in the event information.

Trick or Treat So Others May Eat will help replenish Rowan Helping Ministries’ Food Pantry, which serves approximately 55 families each day.   

Melissa Shue, event coordinator and a volunteer for Rowan Helping Ministries, said she was shocked when she learned how much food the agency distributes to needy families.

“The need for food in our community is great,” Shue said. “I thought the amount of food my church collects sounded like a lot, but then I realized we were providing about three days’ worth of food. Each day, Rowan Helping Ministries distributes 1,375 pounds of food to families who are struggling.”

That amount of food would fill about two pickup trucks. Last year’s event generated 16,000 pounds of donated food, said Emily Huffman, crisis assistance volunteer coordinator for Rowan Helping Ministries. This year, event participants hope to collect enough food to distribute to clients for a month.

“We want to reiterate that a lot of clients seeking help from Rowan Helping Ministries are those who work but are struggling to provide for their families,” Shue said. “Especially in cold weather, they are having to make tough choices about which bills to pay and how to afford groceries.”

As of Oct. 13, a record-setting 32 organizations had signed up to participate in Trick or Treat So Others May Eat. On Sunday, Oct. 26, participants will gather at Rowan Helping Ministries’ Robertson-Stanback Center to weigh the food collected and enjoy pizza and drinks. The team that turns in the most food will be presented “The Heavy Weight Champions” award.

For more information about the event and how you can participate or donate food, call Rowan Helping Ministries at 704-637-6838.

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