While a total of 15 Lincoln County schools participated in the school system’s annual canned food fundraiser for Christian Ministry this season, donating more than 20,000 items, organization officials said the nonprofit remains thousands of dollars behind compared to the Christmas Fund total this time last year.
Later this month, Christian Ministry is prepared to hand out food boxes and Christmas toys to hundreds of needy families in the community with the money and food volunteers have collected.
Set for Dec. 19, the event is the conclusion of an annual fundraiser that benefits those less fortunate and unites citizens on all levels, whether individuals participate on the giving or receiving end.
However, Executive Director Susan Brymer said the organization is currently $20,000 down in financial donations compared to Christmas Fund totals documented during the second week of December 2012.
The facility is looking to collect at least $100,000 through the effort. Last year, officials collected more than $116,000, Brymer said.
She is grateful for the recent food contribution from area schools, including top donations from Love Memorial Elementary, whose students and staff pitched in more than 5,000 in canned goods and more than $600 in cash, and Lincolnton Middle, which produced an excess of 4,000 items and $300 in cash for Christian Ministry.
“That’s an amazing amount of food,” Brymer said.
She expects the contribution to go a long way for the facility and help feed hundreds of hungry people who pile in to the soup kitchen daily for lunch along with the hundreds of families and residents who request food boxes each month.
Brymer believes school children know best about who is going hungry in the community.
“They sit beside the kids that need food each day at school,” she noted.
For the Christmas Fund in particular, families who have signed up for the holiday aid will receive a food box with at least 25 canned goods and other items that Christian Ministry officials and volunteers have specifically chosen to craft healthy, balanced meals for them.
Brymer praised the many helping hands who have continually put forth their time and effort each year to set up and organize the school donations, delivering boxes and picking up items throughout the county.
“They do the whole thing,” she said. “All we have to do (at Christian Ministry) is be at the other end receiving food.”
In addition to less-than-average donation totals this year, Brymer added how toy shelves are looking bare at the facility, a trend this year she considers quite unusual.
While the organization is overloaded with sports balls and dolls, family fun items — board games, play dough, coloring books and puzzles — and items for older boys and girls ages 9 to 14 remain lacking. To donate or volunteer, call (704) 732-0383 or stop by the facility at 207 South Poplar Street in Lincolnton.
The following donors contributed during week 2 of the Christmas Fund: