Trick-or-Treat for Annual Canned Food Drive
by Debbie O’Brien
Cooler, crisper temperatures and colorful changes in scenery will soon welcome Halloween. The local neighborhoods will bustle with pirates and princesses and a few ghosts and goblins in search of the perfect, delicious concoction of sweet treats. There is a repetition of the doorbell ringing and melodious shouting of “trick or treat” greeting each swing of the door. Except last year when it was different…and a slightly more adult, lower-pitched voice of someone once recognizable as the little girl next door exclaimed, “Hi! We’re collecting canned foods for the Center Grove Alternative Academy (CGAA) CARE Pantry. Would you like to donate some cans of food?”
This girl and her friends were high school seniors volunteering their time for a great cause. Happy to oblige, my husband rooted through our kitchen pantry and grabbed a few cans to donate. This continues an annual collection effort that started in 2009 when members of Center Grove High School’s Student Government (STUGO) brought the idea to CGAA’s CARE Pantry. According to Beth Bryant, CGAA Director, “This gave the pantry a great boost that first year. It is a sight to see when the STUGO kids come walking up to the pantry with their wagons filled with canned foods. They are pulling heavy loads.”
Some of the STUGO students have competitions with Roncalli High School students to see which school can collect the most cans for their respective food pantries within their own neighborhoods. Center Grove High School STUGO will post flyers days ahead of Halloween to give friends and families a heads-up.
This year, members of STUGO will be collecting food for the annual “Trick-or-Treat for Cans” event in several Center Grove area neighborhoods on Halloween, Thursday, October 31. Please have a few unexpired canned food items ready to donate when the students stop by your house. You can also contribute to the CARE Pantry by dropping off your donations at CGHS, Attention: Lindsay Bentz or Beth Bryant. Monetary donations are appreciated as well. “It means a lot to us, and we send handwritten thank you notes to the check writers,” said Beth.
The CARE Pantry serves Johnson County residents and is run by students of the CGAA. Gleaners Food Bank and Midwest Food Bank are contributing partners. The CARE Pantry provides a wide assortment of food items and toiletries. Recipients wait in line eager for the doors to open. It is open Fridays from 12:30-2:30 pm, located at 2911 S. Morgantown Rd. Recipients may come to the pantry once a month and must show proof of Johnson County residency. Call (317) 885-5242 for more information.
Debbie O’Brien has lived in Center Grove since 1988. She has worked for Pleasant Grove Elementary for 11 years and is currently a substitute teacher. She and her husband, David, have three children.