Feeding the hungry

Annual Canathon tops last year’s poundage

Volunteers and donors from local organizations team up at WLUC-TV6 to deliver, weigh and load preserved food into trucks for local food pantries. (Journal photo by Rachel Oakley)

MARQUETTE — Thousands of pounds of food were delivered and weighed at the WLUC-TV6 station in Negaunee Township Wednesday night, concluding its 36th annual Canathon.

The event collects donations of nonperishable foods from all across the Upper Peninsula.

“It’s coming from over 250 drop-off sites, businesses, coming from over 75 schools. To date we’ve raised 3.5 million pounds of food,” said WLUC-TV6 Vice President General Manager Rick Rhoades during the event.

Rhoades explained that food raised in each locality of the U.P. is kept in the same area for distribution through their respective local food pantries.

“Overall, we finished the program last night with 155,788 pounds,” said WLUC-TV Creative Services Manager and Canathon Director Scott Zerbel this morning. He added that last year the event concluded with 144,500 pounds collected.

“This year we’re still waiting on schools in the Houghton area, due to inclement weather, so we’ll be collecting those today. I’m hoping our numbers will exceed 160,000.”

One group stood out when it came to delivering the goods. According to Zerbel, the construction workers of the new replacement hospital in Marquette brought in more than 1,700 pounds of food for local pantries.

“We thought it was a good cause,” said Doug Smithback, project manager of Hooper Corporation, which provides HVAC and plumbing for the hospital. “We have a lot of people so we thought that we could come up with some good numbers.”

Rachel Oakley can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 243. Her email address is roakley@miningjournal.net.