By Karen Blackledge
The Danville News
DANVILLE — Students used their time off from school to give back and help others Tuesday.
Boy Scouts, Key Club members, St. Joseph School students and others volunteered during the annual distribution of food baskets and boxes to the needy at Shiloh United Church of Christ.
About 400 families, totaling about 1,000 people, signed up in advance for the food, said Montour County Feed-A-Friend program director Jon Eckhart. He said the program, which provides a Thanksgiving meal to those who cannot afford one, helped about the same number of people as last year.
“Collections have been very good. We had more barrels in the community this year and the community has been very supportive,” he said. “Without community support and the volunteers, this wouldn’t ever happen.”
The program is in its 29th year
Key club members Erin and Faith Deegan, twins in ninth grade, said they volunteered for the program four to five times in the past. They were directing people where to go inside.
“I’m glad to help. It feels good,” Faith said.
“It’s nice to be able to help people,” Erin said.
Six Scouts from Troops 39 and 33 assisted, including Seth Lynn, of Troop 39, who carried frozen turkeys to cars for people.
Key Club members Kirsten Snyder and Seth’s sister, Megan Lynn, took boxes of food to vehicles. They are both freshmen at Danville High School.
“It’s a lot of fun and it’s fun to see the people smile,” Megan said.
Helping out for the first time was 11-year-old Joey Rinaldi, of Troop 39.
“I am bringing turkeys and ripping up boxes for recycling,” he said. “It’s a great program and fun to help out.”
His brother, Craig Rinaldi, a Danville junior, has volunteered in the past and was also assisting.
One of the people waiting in line for a basket or a box said, “It’s a very good program.” The man, who didn’t want to give his name, said he had been helped out in the past by Feed-A-Friend.
Eckhart said they opened the doors 45 minutes early because so many people were waiting outside. “We didn’t want to keep anyone out in the snow,” he said.
Running the program for the first time himself, Eckhart said people of all ages were aided. “This year we had a lot of baby items so we set them aside for people with small kids,” he said, citing formula as an example.
Food baskets and boxes received included cranberry sauce, corn, green beans, macaroni and cheese, stuffing, potatoes, bread, eggs, butter and a turkey. “With larger families, we add on,” he said. The extra items include yams, peas and condiments.
The program is sponsored by WNEP-TV and coordinated in Montour County by the Danville Kiwanis Club, Danville Rotary Club, Danville-Riverside Food Bank and the Shiloh church.
“Almost every civic group is represented. We received 25 filled baskets from the Moose,” said Eckhart, a Rotary club member.
“This restores my faith in humanity. The family support and the private donations – this is 100 percent all volunteer. We have no mailing or administrative costs,” he said.
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