Hickory, NC – For more than 20 years collecting cans of food to replenish local food banks and feed the hungry in our community has been taking place in the fall. Hickory’s Octoberfest Castle of Cans annual food drive will soon be underway again and will look different this year. It will temporarily shift to a virtual fundraising campaign, from October 1-31, 2020, to be able to purchase the needed food for local agencies through Second Harvest Food Bank. For every $5 collected in our virtual campaign, Second Harvest can typically distribute 35 lbs. of food.

The county-wide canned food campaign provides added supplies to soup kitchens and agencies that help families in need in our communities and the need is greater than ever this year. Last year, Second Harvest Food Bank of Metrolina recognized Castle of Cans with a 2019 Food Drive Partner Award for a record-breaking 30,933 pounds of canned food collected from public and private schools and community sites in Catawba County. The food was distributed to eight soup kitchens and food pantries in the area. This year’s virtual campaign goal of $5000 will provide the equivalent of 35,000 pounds of food and be tailored to meet the eight local recipient agency needs!

Food Lion is again providing its support by donating 5,000 pounds of canned goods to the Oktoberfest Castle of Cans campaign through its Food Lion Feeds hunger-relief initiative. “Hunger is closer than you think. Food insecurity can sneak up in an instant. School closings, lost jobs, serious illness or injuries, and other unexpected events can quickly leave some of our most vulnerable neighbors wondering where their next meal will come from. Help us nourish our neighbors in need by joining with us to end hunger in the towns and cities we serve through Food Lion Feeds.”

Schools, businesses, organizations, and individuals are encouraged to “join” and create their own fund drive page within the Castle of Cans team. Each team will get a custom link once they create a page that can be shared within their network of supporters via email or social media. Click “join the team” and follow the easy instructions by visiting the Castle of Cans page or donate directly on the page: https://p2p.onecause.com/shmetrolina2020/team/castle-of-cans

The first food drive and castle build took place in 1999. The idea to add the community service component to Oktoberfest came from architects Beemer Harrell and Marvin Folger. Susan Coleman, a Catawba County Schools’ educator and member of St. Alban’s Episcopal Church, began coordinating the food drive and did so for many years until her death in 2013. The event now carries her name. St. Alban’s Episcopal Church has continued to coordinate the food collection for Hickory’s Downtown Development Association.

Purchased food will be distributed to the following agencies: The Corner Table of Newton, Eastern Catawba County Cooperative Christian Ministries, Exodus Homes, The Family Care Center, Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries, The Hickory Soup Kitchen, The Salvation Army, and Second Harvest Food Bank.

For information about the Castle of Cans, please contact Carleen Crawford at 828-781-0845 or Amy Ogle at 828-322-1121.