Giveaways serve hundreds of families in Canton

CANTON  People wheeled shopping carts around a gymnasium, selecting vegetables and baked goods before taking a turkey.

The Saturday giveaway served 200 people, clients of the food pantry at Westbrook Park United Methodist Church or of the OhioGuidestone service agency.

"All of this has been made possible by the McCollum family," said Raven Gayheart, spokeswoman for the Akron-Canton Regional Foodbank, which supplies the church pantry.

Family members of C.J. McCollum, a player for the Portland Trail Blazers, and Errick McCollum, a professional basketball player in Russia, partnered with the nonprofits to fund the giveaway. Both McCollum brothers, who were traveling with their teams, graduated from GlenOak.

"This is our first time ever giving anything away," said their mother, Kathy Andrews.

Andrews and half a dozen other family members helped distribute the food Saturday afternoon. Andrews said she knows how it feels to need help, and she and her sons wanted to begin an annual tradition of giving back to their community.

"They've been so fortunate to be able to be put in a position to help others," she said.

Louella Hawkins, of Canton, said she comes to the pantry when she runs low on food and was grateful for the Thanksgiving giveaway.

Joe Shockling, of Canton Township, thanked the volunteers as he left. He said he's on disability and also appreciated the donated food.

"I'm thankful for that," he said.

The event was one of many for the Akron-Canton Foodbank, which is in the midst of its holiday campaign. Gayheart said the agency wants to provide 7 million meals by the end of December.

Some of the future fundraisers include: Double Dollar Day for donations on Cyber Monday, Dine Out on Giving Tuesday, the Long Haul Against Hunger radiothon, and the Selfless Elf 5k.

Across town, at the First Church of God and Christ on Gonder Avenue SE, Arrow Passage Recovery distributed 100 turkeys. The Massillon drug and alcohol addiction rehabilitation center passed out poultry to people on a "first come, first serve" basis Saturday afternoon.

"It went really well," said Amanda Demattio, administrative assistant at the center. " We gave out pretty much all the turkeys."

It also was a first-time turkey giveaway, she said, and something Arrow Passage Recovery intends to do again.

Reach Kelly at 330-580-8323

or kelly.byer@cantonrep.com

On Twitter: @kbyerREP