A friendly competition between three local municipalities will benefit hungry families in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties this winter.
For the fifth consecutive year, the cities of Weldon Spring, Cottleville and Dardenne Prairie have teamed up for the Tri-City Holiday Food Drive. Each city will compete to collect the most food donations for Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service, which feeds more than 120 local families each week.
The city that collects the most items for the food pantry will win the coveted “Cornucopia Traveling Trophy” and bragging rights. But more importantly, fewer families will go hungry this winter.
The city of Weldon Spring has won the food drive competition three out of the four years since its inception in 2010.
“Last year, we had a packed pickup truck load, which also included the back seat of the extended cab,” said Weldon Spring City Clerk Moe Kwiatkowski. “Hopefully we get just as much if not more this year.”
Cottleville took the trophy in 2012, but Dardenne Prairie Mayor Pam Fogarty is ready to bring a win to her city.
“My goal is to win this year,” said Fogarty.
Regardless of a win, Fogarty said, “We do it every year to help those that are less fortunate than us.”
Kwiatkowski came up with the idea for the annual food drive competition.
“As far as the competition between cities goes, it was a way to get more people involved. The city clerks from Dardenne Prairie (Kim Clark) and Cottleville (Amy Lewis) and myself are good friends and so the spirit of friendly competition just comes naturally,” Kwiatkowski said.
The drive is currently underway and will continue until January 9. Each city is looking for non-perishable food items and toiletries. Items such as cereal, dry pasta, sauce, canned goods, baby diapers, toothpaste, shampoo and cleaning items are needed. Residents who want to participate, but don’t want to shop, can make a monetary donation via checks made payable to Sts. Joachim & Ann Care Service. Donations can be dropped off at each city’s respective city hall during regular business hours.
This year, four-legged members of the family also will benefit from the drive.
“Weldon Spring also decided to collect for our four-legged friends,” explained Kwiatkowski. “Those items will go to Five Acres Shelter. It’s the only non-kill shelter in St. Charles County.”
Five Acres Shelter relies on private donations in order to operate. Kwiatkowski said the shelter can use Purina dog and puppy food, as well as kitten chow. New and gently used towels and blankets, pet beds, and collars and leashes also are appreciated. In addition, Kwiatkowski said bleach, paper towels, trash bags and gift cards to Petco and PetSmart also would be a welcome addition.
“I have a fondness for animals, so I thought perhaps the holidays would be a perfect time to let the animals experience the generosity that seems to abound during the holiday season. It all goes back to the old adage – it’s better to give than receive,” Kwiatkowski said.