Hickory – The 2019 Susan L. Coleman Castle of Cans set a new record of donations this year with 30,933 pounds or 15.5 tons of food collected. Castle of Cans chairperson Carleen Crawford expressed her sincere appreciation to everyone who collected, contributed or helped in any way to build such a strong castle this year.

“This was the 21st year of Castle of Cans,” said Crawford. “The community pulled together once again for an outstanding drive that broke their own record of giving. Students in both public and private schools, churches, and community organizations joined to provide the cans to build a real castle at Oktoberfest. It was a sight to behold and those cans will now feed our neighbors in need during the months to follow as a result of the generosity of this community.

Appreciation is extended to the following 2019 collection sites: Bandys High School, Bunker Hill High School, Clyde Campbell Elementary School, Grandview Middle School, Hickory Career Arts Magnet BETA Club, Hickory Christian Academy, Hickory Day School, Hickory High School, Jacobs Fork Middle School, Maiden High School, Northview Middle Schools, Oxford Elementary Schools, River Bend Middle School, St. Stephens High School, Startown Elementary School, Tuttle Elementary School and Viewmont Elementary School. Also collecting: CertaPro Painters of Hickory/Catawba Valley, Focus Newspaper, Hickory Choral Society, Tasteful Beans Coffeehouse, Episcopal Church of the Ascension, St. Alban’s Episcopal Church in Hickory and 2 Pink Magnolias in Newton.

Hickory Christian Academy donated the most cans overall, a whopping 5866 lbs. – 2.93 tons! Bunker Hill High School donated the most cans for a public high school -1, 558 lbs., Jacobs Fork Middle School donated the most cans for a middle school – 2387 lbs. and Tuttle Elementary School donated the most cans overall for an elementary school – 1849 lbs.!

A very special thanks go to Food Lion and Papa John’s Pizza. Food Lion donated 4808 pounds of food through its Food Lion Feeds Program. This is the fourth year that Food Lion has supported the drive with a large donation. Papa John’s has donated the prize parties for many years.

The castle was built by Boy Scout Troop #903 from Newton and was dismantled by Boy Scout Troop #726 from Hickory.

Food was distributed to the following agencies: The Corner Table of Newton, Eastern Catawba County Cooperative Christian Ministries, Exodus Homes, The Family Care Center, Greater Hickory Cooperative Christian Ministries, The Hickory Soup Kitchen, The Salvation Army, and Second Harvest Food Bank.

Castle of Cans is the community service component of Hickory’s Oktoberfest. The annual food drive is sponsored by Hickory Downtown Development Association and is coordinated by St. Alban’s Episcopal Church.

Photo: Boy Scouts from Troop #903 in Newton and local volunteers with the Castle of Cans after building at Oktoberfest.