Still spearheaded by Fritz Dent, airport operations manager for Phoenix Air Group Inc., the Thanksgiving Can-A-Thon evolved from the Cartersville-based air carrier’s Community Food Drive in 2009 and 2010. As in past years, the outreach effort is supported by Bartow’s business community, many of which are serving as drop-off locations this month.
“This is our fourth annual Thanksgiving Can-A-Thon,” said Dent, adding last year’s drive collected 67,600 pounds of food. “I wanted to do something through Phoenix Air to give back to the community so I came up with an idea to do a can-a-thon. And I try to do it in November right before Thanksgiving to fill the pantries for the needy families for Thanksgiving.
“... I have a special desire in my heart to make sure that every family has food for Thanksgiving. So that’s my intention on doing it this time of year and I [believe] the need is always there for the food pantries because I think they get hit pretty hard all during the year and especially at Thanksgiving.”
Currently, area residents can donate canned goods at various Cartersville locations, including Blood Assurance, 921 B Joe Frank Harris Parkway, S.E.; Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce, 122 W. Main St.; The Daily Tribune News, 251 S. Tennessee St.; Walmart, 101 Market Place Blvd.; and WBHF radio, 7 N. Wall St.
Even though the Thanksgiving Can-A-Thon drive currently is under way, Dent said he still is seeking businesses to participate by featuring collection boxes at their offices through Nov. 13 at noon. All the food will be delivered to the Cartersville-Bartow County Airport later that day, where a public offering will be held from 4 to 7 p.m.
“[I] invite the public to come out and take part in this,” Dent said about the Nov. 13 event. “There are just so many needy families that are out there. We want to show that the people in Bartow County care about the community and we want to give back to the needy families.”
To be broadcast live by WBHF radio, the Nov. 13 offering will be a time for the public to drop off canned goods, partake in a complimentary cookout courtesy of Walmart and view various aircraft on display. The gathering also will have a strong presence from the Cartersville-Bartow County Chamber of Commerce and the Bartow Business & Contractors Connection.
“It really is [a community effort],” said Tina Jennings, a board member for the local Chamber of Commerce. “The first year, it started off slow but ... now that people realize that Phoenix Air does have a commitment to do it every year to help the community, it really is fulfilling to see the people in the community want to help those who maybe don’t have enough food to last through a certain period of time. ... Right now the need is so great, even greater than last year.
“So it’s really important that more people participate and get the word out. The good thing this year is that we’re having some door prizes at the Can-A-Thon and then [the] person that brings the most poundage of food by weight will win an iPad donated by Walmart. So we’re excited about that to kind of make a game of it too in order to get more food for the pantries.”
For more information about the food drive, call Dent at 770-386-3040, ext. 202.