Lynn Hobbs, spokesperson for the campaign, said, "The first year we collected 10,000 non-perishable items, and last year 13,000. Each year, we hope to gain a little bit more." The campaign is centered in elementary schools at Mammoth Spring, Couch, Koshkonong, Alton and Thayer. "Working with the elementary students helps them gain awareness for caring for their neighbors," Hobbs said. "It is a way to encourage them to think about other people."
Each year, the Hunger Hero campaign has a school collection point in each community. Organizers encourage people to send non-perishable items to school with their children, grandchildren or relatives. If someone doesn't have a student in school, they can donate non-perishable items at Fin to Fur in Thayer. Fin to Fur, K-Kountry 95, The Gift AM 1290 and Century Link are the sponsors of the event.
The school campaign ends Thursday, Dec. 13. The classes in each school are competing against each other to win a pizza party. "On Dec. 14, we will evaluate which class from each school had the most non-perishable items brought in, and we will provide them with a pizza party from the Thayer Pizza Inn," Hobbs said.
The school that collects the most non-perishable items, will win the honor of keeping the traveling trophy for a year. Each year, the name of the school that collects the most food is engraved along with the year. The trophy is about two feet tall and has a 'Hunger Hero' on top. Mammoth Spring Elementary has been the winner for the past two years.
The community donation center at Fin to Fur will be open until Monday, Dec. 24. The donations are distributed to the Mammoth Spring Food Pantry and Oregon County Food Pantry. Hobbs said the Hunger Hero Campaign also accepts cash donations.
"Our ultimate goal is for the community to be involved," Hobbs said.