What started as a simple food drive has turned into an all-out campaign to help the needy for Thanksgiving.
Annunciation Catholic School and Church has started a Fill the Bus Food Drive, with the non-perishable food to be donated to the Havelock-Cherry Point Ministerial Outreach food pantry.
Jody Fennell, who heads up the Havelock school’s Interact Club, said the group’s parent club, the Havelock-Cherry Point Rotary Club, suggested a food drive as a project for the students.
“It went from one thing to the other,” he said. “They said there was a real need for food, that they were out of food or nearly out of food. And then it turned into filling the bus.”
Fennell said Teresa Rodney, who works at the church, came up with the idea of filling the school’s activity bus with food and then driving it over to the food pantry.
“I noticed that a lot of other schools do it across the country,” she said. “If it goes well, maybe we can continue it for Christmas or make it an annual thing.”
Anyone wishing to help with the drive can drop off non-perishable food from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. through Friday at the school office. Rodney said someone would be on hand during Sunday church services from 8 a.m. until 1 p.m. to collect food as well.
First Citizens Bank in Havelock is also serving as a dropoff site for food donations.
“We want to collect so much that the bus gets a flat tire,” she said.
Rodney said the plan is to drive the bus with the food to the pantry on Monday, right before Thanksgiving.
Rodney said the food pantry desperately needs food that it supplies to the needy, especially during the holidays.
“I had heard that they didn’t have any food,” she said. “We thought about doing something with Toys for Tots for the holidays, but then we thought why not use the bus and fill it with food.”
Rodney said the Fill the Bus Food Drive isn’t just about Annunciation and wants it to be something the entire city can get behind.
“We’re challenging the Havelock community,” she said. “I hope people will do it.”
And with the people of Havelock behind the effort, Rodney said she believed the bus would be able to be filled with food for the pantry.
“I think we can do it,” she said. “I really do.”
Annunciation Catholic School is located at 246 East Main St., across from Havelock City Park. For more information on the food drive, call 447-3137.