NCSS 2021 Canathon

NCSS Students Collect Over 30,000 Canned Food Items for Local Food Pantries
Posted on 11/08/2021
Mansfield elementary students sitting in front of boxes of canned foodNewton County School System students were on a mission during the month of October to can hunger in our community. Students throughout the school district collected thousands of canned food and other nonperishable items for the annual NCSS Can-a-thon to support our community’s local food pantries. Despite being in the midst of a worldwide pandemic, the students shattered their previous record of 21,000 cans by collecting a staggering 30,060 nonperishable food items this year.

George Hutchinson, NCSS social worker, said the school district’s annual Can-a-thon is extremely important to the local Newton County community.

“This is one of the largest, if not the largest food drives in Newton County and our local food pantries have come to depend on us for this food drive to restock their pantries for the upcoming holiday season and winter season,” said Hutchinson. “Particularly right now with our economy being so impacted by the pandemic, a lot of people are hurting and in need. This goes a long way for these food pantries to provide for their needs.”

The schools compete in a friendly competition to see who can collect the most food items, and this year, Mansfield Elementary School earned bragging rights by collecting 5,729 cans. Middle Ridge Elementary School students brought in 4,447 cans and Fairview Elementary School came in third with 3,170 canned food items. Other school system locations collecting more than one thousand food items for the Can-a-thon this year included the Board of Education, Livingston Elementary, Oak Hill Elementary, and West Newton Elementary. The great thing about the Newton County School System’s Can-a-thon is that all food items collected remain in Newton County to support local families.

The school district’s 30,000 plus food items were recently delivered to the Community Food Pantry and The Salvation Army Pantry, with another truckload scheduled to support the Covington First United Methodist Church Food Pantry.

According to Betty Baily, The Community Food Pantry is open on Wednesday and Friday mornings to provide pre-bagged groceries to families in need who reside in Newton County. The only requirement is a picture ID with proof of residence to obtain a cartload full of pre-bagged groceries. Bailey noted that the school system’s donation came just in time to replenish the stock at the Community Food Pantry, located at 7125 Turner Lake Circle SW.

“Just to know that we have received that much food in these pandemic times where supply issue is a problem with us getting items from the Atlanta community food bank as well as even from the local grocery stores….It is significantly going to make a great impact on our families in Newton County especially coming up this holiday season, they’ll have a little extra that they won’t have to worry about maybe where their next meal is going to come from,” said Bailey.

Levi Koebel, director of the Salvation Army’s Covington Service Center, located on Washington Street, added that the district’s donation was perfectly timed as the need is great in Newton County.

“For us, we have so many families in need here in Newton County…we probably give away thousands of cans every few months and this really sets us up to serve the people in this community,” he explained.

Hutchinson expressed his pride for the students’ efforts this year.

“I am just amazed and stunned by the response this year from our kids,” he noted. “Our students are so generous and give so much. They know how much people are hurting and they can sense the hardship that has been brought on by the economic situation, the pandemic, and they really came through this year and I’m just so proud of them.”

Betty Baily had a special message for the school system students who participated in the Annual NCSS Can-a-thon.

“I would say, thank you from the bottom of our hearts because that’s what our ministry is all about out here,” she said. “It’s making a difference and helping the people in our community—our local neighbors. The can that they donated may actually go to a neighbor of theirs that they didn’t even know was having issues getting food. We could have never been able to have gotten this amount of food at this time just because the supply issue. So, I just say a huge thank you for the willingness and the excitement that I’m sure each one of the children had at bringing a can to participate in the can-a-thon. And we just can’t thank you enough and we so appreciate it.”