Published November 20, 2014
By Patrick Lacombe, The Belton Journal
Despite the bitter cold and icy north winds, 56 teams lined the sidewalk in front of Belton’s H-E-B Superstore to participate in a food rally benefiting local food banks.
The event was held last Thursday, sponsored by Belton High School Future Farmers of America (FFA). 112 participants stood in the cold waiting for the door to open so they could fill their baskets with food from a printed list of grocery items to be donated either to needy families or a food bank in the area.
According to Jonathan Hetzle, General Merchandise Leader at H-E-B, teams started lining up as early as 5:30 a.m. waiting for the 6 a.m. kickoff.
“For this many people to come out this early on this cold of a morning and show this kind of enthusiasm to help people says a lot,” BISD School Board President Randy Pittenger said.
Pittenger gave instructions to the 112 people participating in the rally before blowing a whistle signaling the start of the event.
The teams were instructed to find the items on the list and get to the checkout line in the least amount of time possible. The first three teams to come in with the correct items had their entry fee of $50 returned to them.
“This is a great event for our community and a wonderful way to support those in need,” Pittenger said. “We are all having some fun and we’re so thankful for H-E-B and FFA for sponsoring this event. I’m especially proud of our students from Belton High ‘Student 2 Student’ who came out and beat some of these professional shoppers.”
One item in particular had the teams scrambling throughout the store looking for a person in a turkey outfit. Once a team found the “Turkey Man,” they had to do a “Turkey Dance,” after which they were given a certificate to redeem for a frozen turkey.
As teams lined up to check out, the winners were announced in the order in which they placed. Coming in with first place was Nicole Sterk and Tiffany Rathbin, representing High Point Elementary School. As they learned that they placed first in the contest, the pair held onto each other and jumped up and down celebrating the win.
Second place went to Samantha Kagel and Somatra Sang, who were donating their items to Helping Hands Ministry.
Third place went to Ann Deweese and Morgan Woeller representing Leon Heights Elementary School. Their items will be donated to a family in need whose child attends Leon Heights.
Paxton Smith and Rachael Parker were teammates in the rally.
After check out, Smith said, “We didn’t place but we did our best. It was a lot of fun, and it’s for a worthy cause.”
After the event was over, Rucker Preston, Executive Director of Helping Hands Ministry, was busy loading the bed of his pickup truck with donated groceries.
“We have about 1,000 families to feed next Wednesday and Thursday. We will give out over 50,000 food items so needy families will be able to have the dignity of a Thanksgiving dinner. This is a great help from the Belton School District,” said Preston.
For more information on holiday food drives, please see page A7.