By Konstantine Fekos
Volunteer food collectors smiled through the cold as they watched donors shatter several records for the ninth annual Drive-Thru Holiday Food Drive to benefit Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwestern Pennsylvania.
After the Meadville portion’s close at around 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, site coordinators calculated $8,650 in cash donations, and 111 frozen turkeys — both record-breaking figures from the respective $6,970.32 and 89 turkeys in 2010.
Community members also submitted more than 7,600 pounds of food as they drove by in cars and trucks of all shapes and sizes. The 2010 record still stands at 9,685 pounds.
The 2011 local drive saw collections of $5,986, 76 turkeys and 6,678 pounds of food and canned goods.
“People were very generous considering the economy,” said Heather Musacchio, spokesperson for Second Harvest, shrugging off worries after considerable donations, including one lump sum of $500 cash, delivered in an Arby’s bag.
Local contributors also brought snacks and refreshments for the scores of Allegheny College students and community members who volunteered to collect and sort nonperishable food items as well as some toiletries, detergents and pet food throughout the day.
“I’m amazed at how well the community responds every year at this event and how they’re willing to donate so much,” said Tom Kleean, representing King’s Family Restaurant. “I know times are tough for everybody, but they still give and I’m glad to be a part of it all.”
The Meadville collection ran from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. in The Meadville Tribune parking lot between Park Avenue and South Main Street, which saw several small traffic jams around lunch time as drivers packed the pavement to drop off supplies.
Volunteers departing after the final hour expressed excitement in looking forward to next year’s drive.
“We’re so grateful The Meadville Tribune does this every year and helps out Lilly Broadcasting and Second Harvest,” said Samantha Sherwin, special events coordinator for the food bank.
Konstantine Fekos can be reached at 724-6370 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.