250,000 Cans and Counting: Coweta Can-A-Thon wraps up for 2012

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Volunteer Kelly Hines of the Newnan Junior Service League accepts a food donation from Quatney Sapee at the Can-A-Thon tent on the Newnan Court Square. Junior League volunteers were manning the tent from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday, wrapping up the 2012 food drive.

By SARAH FAY CAMPBELL
sarah@newnan.com
The annual Coweta Can-A-Thon wrapped up Tuesday with individuals, businesses, and organizations bringing thousands of cans — and dollars — to drop-off sites in downtown Newnan and Senoia.
At 7 p.m., the official end of the event, the total was approximately 250,000 in food items and cash equivalents, with monetary donations being calculated at three cans per dollar.
Some cans still were out on Tuesday evening, said Ginny Lambert, Can-A-Thon co-chair for the Newnan Junior Service League. A few day-care centers hadn’t gotten their final totals in, and some businesses were collecting items through the end of the week.
The Can-A-Thon didn’t reach its goal of 300,000 items, but Lambert said that’s OK.
“It’s not about the total,” said Lambert. “It’s about the community coming out to help others in need,” she said.
Things were pretty steady at the drop-off point in downtown Newnan.
“We’ve had some generous people making generous monetary donations,” Lambert said.
Organizers received several $100 checks, as well as a few checks for $300 and $500.

As of late afternoon, some 13,658 items and cash equivalent had been dropped off in Newnan.

Helping out in Newnan were representatives of Newnan Utilities, who loaded boxes of sorted food onto trucks and took them to the Coweta Community Food Pantry. Vince West of Newnan Utilities has been helping with the Can-A-Thon for five or six years.

“I enjoy it,” he said. “Just to see the willingness of everybody to give — I think it’s great, to see a community come together. I look forward to it every year.”

Senoia’s total, as of about 6:15, was 1,916 items. Students from The Heritage School were helping out in Senoia and soliciting donations of change at intersections, said Lambert.

Coweta County School System students collected the lion’s share of cans, as has been their custom. The school system total was 220,020 items.

The top school was Lee Middle School with 26,074 items. In second place was Smokey Road Middle School with 20,304. Newnan High School was in third place with 18,027.

After the Can-A-Thon comes the Sort-A-Thon. Getting that many food items sorted and arranged is a big undertaking, officials say.

The biggest day of sorting will be Saturday, said Derenda Rowe, executive director of the Coweta Community Food Pantry.

A small group of youth volunteers is already scheduled to work Saturday, but more volunteers may be needed. Anyone interested in volunteering can show up between 9 a.m. and noon, Rowe said.

Work will wrap up around 3 p.m. Larger groups are already lined up for the following two Saturdays, Rowe said.

Volunteers are needed during the week to help with sorting as well, and those interested should arrive between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, Rowe said.

The pantry is located at 320-C Temple Avenue, Newnan. The pantry is located in the old Playtex facility and shares its building with One Roof Outreach.

Rowe said she also needs volunteers year-round who are willing to come on a regular basis and learn the ropes, so that they can help direct other volunteers.

For more information, e-mail one-roof@hotmail.com or call 770-683-7705.



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