The idea for “Thankful Thursdays” came from a desire to give more during the 30th year of Canned Food Fridays. Over the past 29 years, the Choo Choo Barn has donated over 72,000 items to local food banks and collected nearly $23,000 which has been distributed within the local community. “Linda and I can’t believe that this event has spanned 30 years. With such a milestone anniversary upon us, we wanted a way to make it special, to expand it and give more. After a brainstorming session, the idea for Thankful Thursdays was born. A new name, new dates are just what we needed to give this event a rebirth”, said Tom Groff, owner and chief animator at the Choo Choo Barn.
Christmas is a busy time for everyone and a drop in Canned Food Fridays attendance over the past few years confirmed a need for change. “As we talked, we realized that we needed to move the event away from December since winter weather has always been a factor. The possibility of snow or ice, families waiting outside in the wind and cold on busy evenings, and a crowded, enclosed room during cold and flu season all played a part in our decision”, said Kristi Largoza, marketing director.
Opening up the event throughout the year creates an opportunity for more people to visit and more food to be collected during times when the food bank may be lacking in supply. “The holiday season is a popular time to give and often our shelves over overflowing to the point where we have to rent a storage shed. This is a great ‘problem’ to have, but we’d love to collect more throughout the year. We are grateful for the incredible amount of support we receive from the Choo Choo Barn”, said Judy Dougherty of the Octorara Area Food Cupboard.
Thankful Thursdays will be held six times in 2018 from 9am-6pm on the first Thursday of the month: April 5, May 3, June 7, September 6, October 4, and November 1. Admission to the Choo Choo Barn layout is FREE with a donation of at least one non-perishable food item per person, regardless of age. Please note that the following items are the most highly demanded, per the food bank: peanut butter, canned meats (tuna and chicken), healthy cereal, pasta, fruit and rice. No expired food is accepted, per food bank policies. Please give generously – admission is at least one item per person!
Please note: Thankful Thursdays is taking the place of Canned Food Fridays, which will no longer be held in December.