This Halloween will once again see the younger members of Elmira’s Woodside Bible Fellowship conducting their annual food drive for the food bank at Woolwich Community Services.
Dating back to 2003, CANS (Citizens Always Need Supper) collects about 4,500 pounds of food each year. Some 80 volunteers will be going door to door in Elmira during regular trick or treating hours to collect canned food and other items for the food bank.
“It’s been something in junior youth where you hear about the idea of CANS and then being able to actually go and do it has been pretty cool. It’s been amazing how just a small idea came to this big thing that people look forward to,” said Alison Martin, who is helping to lead CANS this year.
“You’re going door to door anyway – it’s kind of a perfect opportunity. I’m surprised no one thought of it sooner. It’s worked out really well,” she said.
Elmira residents have been very generous to CANS, Martin added.
“They expect people to show up on Halloween. I remember one year, this old couple gave me a huge box with like 12 different big apple juice containers. And we get grocery carts from the local grocery store, and they let us use it for the night. So we just all collect as much food as possible, and then box it up when we come back here.”
Jamieson Colwell, another participant, echoed that sentiment.
“Just in one small section, they filled up shopping carts full of food and that’s just one small section of Elmira,” he said.
CANS being led by the youth and young adults is significant, Martin said.
“We don’t have a lot of opportunities like this in our community where we have such a large number of people to get the whole town involved in something. We’re trying to reach as many houses in Elmira, hopefully all if possible. So I think it’s really cool that we’re able to connect the older generations with the younger generations in our whole entire community,” Martin explained
“We don’t do it very often. So I think having an organization involved in an event like this is pretty special.”
Colwell shared in the excitement of participating in the event this year,
“I’m really excited about going out again this year. I really love going around, seeing all the people and a lot of them are happy to see that you’re coming, not for the candy,” he said.
According to the WCS website, the most needed items include laundry detergent, shampoo, canned salmon and meat, canned veggies, juice, cereal, Kraft Dinner, canned fruit and dried pasta.