Million Can March coming to your door

The generosity of local residents helps less fortunate individuals throughout the year, and an upcoming canned food drive will once again aid those in need during the tough winter months.
Sponsored by Nappanee United Methodist Church, the annual Million Can March has been a cornerstone of the town’s charity community since 2004. In six previous drives, it collected over 50,000 items.
Volunteer Beverly Fales hopes the recent city of Nappanee-sponsored drive won’t dissuade residents from reaching into their cupboards or pockets one more time.
“Anything we pick up is more than what we have, and in January and February when you aren’t thinking about canned food drives, the need is still there,” Fales said.
On Saturday, Nov. 6, volunteers will place grocery bags on doors around Nappanee, with a sheet of explanation asking residents to fill the bag with as many food items as they like. The following Saturday, Nov. 13, the bags will be picked up from doorsteps. The items will then be sorted and delivered to the Open Door facility at the old B&O Train Depot at 292 S. Main St.
Open Door is a non-profit assistance organization founded in 1972, and is staffed by unpaid volunteers. It provides help with food, clothing, rent and utility payments, prescription expenses and travel to physicians for individuals and families in need. Unfortunately, that need is high, as around 140 patrons stop by each month.
“We’ve seen people come and go,” Open Door and Million Can March volunteer John Personett said. “We had a lady come in this morning that hadn’t been in in five months. She said, ‘I had a job, and now I don’t.’ “
Open Door is open from 9 to 11 a.m. Monday through Friday. Individuals and families can go there once a month to pick up a large box filled with non-perishables, a frozen meat and toilet paper.
“It’s a good mix and variety in every box,” Personett said.
The goods come from a large pool of donors, from the USDA to Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts. The supply includes fresh produce during the summer, mostly from local growers.
The Million Can March was inspired by the Nappanee United Methodist’s study of “The Purpose Driven Life” and “40 Days of Community” by Rick Warren.
“We wanted to develop a community-wide service project that our church would spearhead, that would encompass the participation of the whole community,” Fales said. “This drive was an outgrowth of something a Sunday school class had been doing on a much smaller scale. We’re now in our seventh year, and it is truly an inter-generational effort.”
For more information on Open Door or to volunteer, call 574-773-3820.