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CAN Challenge comes to local football games

NORCROSS -- Tonight's football game between Dacula and Norcross is more than just fumbles, turnovers, and touchdowns -- Holtkamp's CAN Challenge will be present during the rivalry to collect cans and nonperishables for the Norcross Cooperative Ministry. This is just the kickoff to the season-long stock up of essential products for food banks in Gwinnett County.

The challenge will also be at the North Gwinnett vs. Collins Hill, Shiloh vs. Grayson, Parkview vs. Brookwood, and Peachtree Ridge vs. Mill Creek football games this season.

There will donation bins readily available at Suwanee's Celebrate Service Music Festival and Taste of Home Cooking Show at the Gwinnett Civic Center.

"We started this because Gwinnett county is hungry," said Suzanne Holtkamp, cofounder of the CAN Challenge. "You drive around thinking that everything is going great in the neighborhood, but then you drive by the Salvation Army and the line is out the door."

Nonprofits that collect more than 1,00 articles receive a $250 grant, but the school challenges are competitions. The school that raises more than 1,000 items wins a $500 grant from the Holtkamp Family Foundation and the food bank receives all of the donations. If both collect more than 1,000 items, the school with the lower amount recieves $250 grant and the school with a higher amount recieves the full $500.

In addition to canned goods, pastas, diapers, hygiene products, toilet paper, and cleaning agents are also needed.

A delivery truck will be at the school collecting the nonperishables as they are given and will be driven straight to the co-op.

"We're trying to bring as much awareness to the problem as possible," Holtkemp said. "A neighbor helping neighbor effect."

For the year, the goal is to collect 10 tons of food; the project is currently at 7.5 tons. The food from community events will be sent over to various food banks in the county, including Bread of Life Food Pantry, Duluth Hands of Christ, North Gwinnett Cooperative Ministry, as well as many others.

The game begins at 7:30 p.m. and CAN Challenge tables will be at the main gates at Norcross High School, 5300 Spalding Drive. For more information about the challenge, schools participating, or how you can help, visit www.HoltkampHVAC.com/canchallenge.