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NAPPANEE â€” A small army of volunteers took time out of their busy weekend schedules to assure that some tables in the neighborhood looked a little less sparse.
Nappanee United Methodist Church members and community volunteers involved in the annual â€śMillion Can Marchâ€ť food drive had left empty grocery bags on doorknobs around Nappanee the week before, explaining the initiative.
Several volunteers commented that this was one of the more meager donation years for the event (in the nine years it has been held) likely due to a similar drive held a few weeks before. Yet still, Nov. 10, volunteers gathered to collect, inspect, sort, pack, and deliver some 5,234 items donated by the area community.
The first year (2004) was recorded as the most successful â€śMillion Can Marchâ€ť with 9,033 items donated, and the worst, in 2011, with 5,618 non-perishable food and toiletry items collected. Volunteer and organizer Becky Lehman said the economy has hit many people in the area hard, and that the need for donations is ongoing regardless of the season.
Larry Haney said he and his wife Dorothy had been volunteering for the food drive for eight years and noted that this year was one of the â€śbetter weatherâ€ť ones.
â€śThere have been a couple of years where it was so cold you couldnâ€™t feel your fingers by the time you were on your second street,â€ť he explained with a smile in regard to collecting the filled bags. â€śBut its worth it because this really helps folks out.â€ť
Nearly 100 volunteers worked together to make the event and the total donation to the Open Door food pantry a successful reality â€” helping their neighbors in need.