Annual UCM food drive under way

By Nicole Daughhetee

Courier Staff

COUNTY — Cornerstone National Bank Easley branch manager Suzanne Burns is on her annual mission to fight hunger in Pickens County.

Last year the network of banks that competed with one another to secure the greatest amount of food donations finished the challenge with 728 food items and $167 that went to United Christian Ministries.

“This year we want to beat that total,” said Burns. “First Citizens Bank in Powdersville won last year, so the people in our bank have stepped up the competition this year. We’ve even decorated our collection boxes.”

Burns’ United Christian Ministries (UCM) Food Drive is part of the 16th Annual Feinstein Challenge Million Dollar Giveaway that draws national competitors that collect donations for hunger-fighting agencies.

The challenge is simple: For the 16th consecutive year, Alan Shawn Feinstein, philanthropist and head of the Feinstein Foundation, will divide $1 million among nonprofit hunger-fighting agencies nationwide. The more food items and money collected, the more money each nonprofit will receive to fight hunger in their communities.

From March 1 to April 30, the UCM Food Drive and Bank Challenge will take place throughout Pickens County and Powdersville.

Bank employees and customers are asked to bring non-perishable food and pantry items to their bank branch, where the items are tallied and taken to UCM so they can distribute food to those in need in our community.

“It seems like food pantries are in need after Christmas,” said Burns. “This is a perfect time and opportunity to help UCM stock their pantry for folks in our community.”

Any variety of non-perishable food items is accepted. However, some particularly difficult items to come by are bottles of juice and jars of jelly. Those interested in donating to their bank branch can also make monetary donations.

Participating in this year’s UCM Food Drive Bank Challenge are Cornerstone National Bank branches in Easley, Powdersville and Berea, First Citizens Bank branches in Easley and Powdersville, and Certus Bank in Easley.

According to the Feinstein Foundation, past $1 Million Challenges to fight hunger have raised more than $1.50 billion for more than 1,800 agencies and houses of worship nationwide helping the needy.

Those interested in putting Pickens County and UCM on the map, helping to feed those in need in our community, or being competitive and helping their bank branch win this year’s food drive, are invited to stop by any of the participating bank branches listed and drop off non-perishable food items.

The bank challenge is for a great cause and no matter what everyone truly wins because UCM receives much-needed food items for our Pickens County neighbors who are hungry.