Senior Center Can-a-Thon gives back to Hall County By Erica Schmidt and joshua glasco

This Friday marked the end of the last full week of the Gainesville-Hall County Senior Life Center’s annual food drive, which benefits the South Hall Food Pantry.

The center’s Can-a-Thon benefits a different food pantry every year, and this year they chose the South Hall Food Pantry due to its smaller size and greater need for donations, according to Senior Programs Coordinator Gloria Wilms.

Wilms said that the food drive is a positive way for the clients at the center to help out others in the community.

“It’s something I thought about several years ago,” Wilms said. “People always give to the center, so this is our way of giving back to the community.”

The center averages about 35 to 40 senior clients daily, and the donations for the food drive come from these clients.

“We make an announcement and tell them what to bring in,” Wilms said. “We don’t have a goal — just to fill up the box as many times as possible.”

The goal for the food drive is to fill the collection box as many times as possible

Linda Rider has been a client of the senior life center for a year, and she was the first person to bring in food donations as soon as the can drive opened in the beginning of the month.

“I’ve been down to one can of food,” Rider said, “so if I have something that somebody needs it’s good to donate. If people bless us then we need to bless them.”

The food drive is only one of the many ways in which the center strives to give back to the community. They also hold a school supply drive for students, a Toys for Tots drive, and Roots and Shoots, an inter-generational program in which the senior clients go to elementary schools and visit with the children. The Can-a-Thon is an easy way for the clients to see the impact they can make, according to Wilms.

Some of the clients of the senior center stand next to the food they have collected so far

“They’re really excited to see the end results,” Wilms said. “At the end of the month we spread all the donations out on the table so they can see it all, and we take their picture behind it.”

While this week was the last full week of the can drive, the center will continue collecting donations for the first half of next week until the end of October, and the center will deliver the donations to the food pantry once the Can-a-Thon has concluded.

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Erica Schmidt

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