The City of Savannah on Friday donated a record-setting 51,152 cans of food to America’s Second Harvest during the culmination of the Great Savannah Canned Food Drive and the Food for Fines program.
"The total haul weighed in at 51,061 pounds, which equates to roughly 39,891 meals," said America’s Second Harvest Executive Director Mary Jane Crouch.
“That’s just awesome. We have a greater need this time of year because families struggle to make ends meet, heating bills increase, and people are struggling to do something for their family during the holidays," Crouch continued. "Our need goes up and our shelves go bare. The City’s donation helps us so we can get through the winter.”
The Great Savannah Canned Food Drive is an annual event that includes a friendly competition among Bureaus within the City organization. This year, City employees donated 32,857 cans – a 30 percent increase over last year’s food drive.
Mayor Jackson presented the coveted Most Generous Bureau trophy to the Leisure Services Bureau. Each Leisure Services employee donated an average of 17.95 cans during the 10-day collection period.
The Most Generous Employee was Lou Smith, also of Leisure Services. He personally donated 340 cans.
Leisure Services, led by Bureau Chief Joe Shearouse, includes the departments of Park and Tree, Parks and Recreation, Cemeteries, Cultural Affairs, the Civic Center, Buildings and Electrical Maintenance, and the Film Office.
“I’m constantly amazed by the generosity shown by our hard-working City employees,” Mayor Edna Jackson said during a Friday news conference, flanked by dozens of trucks loaded with canned goods. “Our employees care about this community because they are part of this community.”
New this year, the City’s Mobility and Parking Services Department launched the Food for Fines program to coincide with the Food Drive. Over the 10-day Food Drive, the City waived one parking ticket in exchange for at least 10 donated canned goods.
A total of 1,422 people took advantage of the incentive, donating 18,295 canned goods.
“I am truly amazed, and feel blessed to be part of this organization,” said City Manager Stephanie Cutter, who launched the Canned Food Drive in 2012. “This is what the Christmas spirit is all about.”