By BECKY KISER
The shelves are no longer bare at the Community Assistance Center (CAC) in Hays.
“We’re still trying to find room for it all,” CAC Co-Director Theresa Hill said Wednesday. “It’s full.”
Tuesday night’s annual “Trick Or Treat So Others Can Eat” canned food drive, spearheaded by the Hays High School DECA Club, brought in much needed non-perishable commodities donated by Hays residents.
“Summer cleans us out with kids out of school,” Hill explained, “and we’re getting more people, too.”
CAC also recently increased the number of times food may be picked up, from four to six boxes in a 12-month period.
“We’ve got a lot of people we feed. We also help the elderly and DSNWK clients. We’ve got 5,500 people coming in each year.”
The DECA students have been involved in the project since 1985, according to teacher Shaina Prough.
This was the second year for volunteer Madison Key, a Hays High senior. She was a DECA member last year but “this year I didn’t really have room in my class schedule to be in DECA but I still like to help.”
Key was keeping track of which volunteer groups were coming through the door with their food donations.
Some volunteers walked in with the food still in plastic grocery bags which they had plucked from the porches of residential donors. Cardboard boxes were also lugged in, filled to the top with heavy canned food. Male members of DECA helped unload vehicles and move the donations inside the CAC with a grocery cart and a flatbed truck. The Girl Scouts, with the troops working together, wheeled their collection inside using wagons.
In addition to 34 Hays High students signed up to work, other volunteers came from church groups, civic groups, Fort Hays State University students and the Boy Scouts.
It’s all appreciated although “the best things are something you can use to make a lot of it,” Hill suggested.
One item the CAC doesn’t get a lot of is canned salmon.
There was an ongoing debate Tuesday night as volunteers helped restock the pantry shelves whether salmon is “too expensive” or “just doesn’t taste good.”
For more information call Hill at 785-625-9110.