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County Fair donates food to 2 co-ops

LAWRENCEVILLE — Instead of collecting empty Coca-Cola cans to receive a discounted rate on rides, the Gwinnett County Fair collected nonperishable items.

In a total of five days (the week days for discounts) during the 12-day fair, the staff received 6,220 pounds of food.

“We were very pleased,” fair manager Dale Thurman said. “We still had people bring in the cans like the prior years, but we’re going to do the can drive again next year.”

When the fair officially closed shop on Sept. 22, Thurman had thousands of items from the community at the fairgrounds. He had it all shipped out and weighed before donating the goods.

“We’re giving back and it will help some people who need it,” Thurman said. “Everyone wants to help were we can. We even had people — some of our vendors — go out and buy food just to be a part of the program.”

The loot was split between two nonprofits. The Lawrenceville Co-Op took approximately 4,000 pounds of food. The other 2,000-plus pounds went to the Lilburn Co-Op.

“We were going to give all of the food to the Lawrenceville Co-Op, but they ran out of room,” Thurman said. “That’s when we gave the rest to the Lilburn bank.”

With the generous amount of donations, the Fairgrounds staff is ready to collect more food in 2014.

“We would love to see it go up to 10,000 pounds,” Thurman said. “Next year, I’m sure we won’t have any trouble finding places for the food.”