Volunteer groups trick-or-treat for food drive

Halen Doughty
Volunteers gather donations at year's biggest food drive.

Ascension Parish residents came together to trick-or-treat so others can eat. Interact clubs at both East Ascension and St. Amant high schools, local boy scouts, Rotary Club members, and other volunteers went door-to-door collecting canned goods for the St. Theresa of Avila Catholic Church Food Pantry in Gonzales.

After collecting non-perishable items from area neighborhoods, volunteers helped sort through the donations and pack them in the food pantry. Each group weighed their load upon arrival as part of a friendly competition to see which organization rounded up the most food.

Director of Community Services with St. Theresa and Director of the food pantry, Anna Sparacino said this is the big kick-off drive to stock the shelves ahead of the holiday season, which is the busiest time of year for the food pantry.

"Each truck wants to know who got the most," said Sparacino, "but of course anytime we have a food drive, we weigh it because we want to be able to write a thank you note and thank that organization."

She said trucks brought in upwards of 400 plus pounds of food in each load. She said they also host food drives at all the schools in the parish to see which school can collect the most food for needy families.

"They compete, and we even offer pick up," said Sparacino. "So we go pick it up, and we weigh it."

St. Anne and St. Anthony Catholic churches in Darrow and Sorrento also collected throughout the entire month of October. Sparacino said more than one thousand flyers were sent out prior to the trick-or-treating night. Families were asked to leave canned goods on their porches with the light on to have the donations picked up by volunteers.

Sparacino said all the food collected during the drive goes to local families in Ascension Parish. Collected items include canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter and jelly, spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, rice, boxed dinners, cereal, beans, and mac and cheese.

The food drive brought in nearly one ton of food with a total of 1,891 pounds. Each bag that goes out to families in need is worth about $50. During the holidays, that even includes turkey dinners for the family.