Food drive collects more than 600 pounds of food

Published 9:04 am Thursday, February 12, 2009

Participants in the first-ever joint Anytime Fitness and Salvation Army 48-hour food drive this weekend collected more than 600 pounds of food and more than $500 in cash to fight hunger in Freeborn County.

Last Friday starting at 6 a.m. and continuing through to Sunday at 6 a.m., the gym’s members and others from the community took 30-minute shifts walking on the treadmill or working out on the elliptical.

Anytime Fitness manager Sindy Dickey said participants collected 670 pounds of food and $463 in cash. The Salvation Army will use the cash to purchase food in March.

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The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints also donated $500 worth of food that will come from the church’s cannery, also during March, Dickey said.

“They did an awesome job,” said Albert Lea Salvation Army Capt. Jim Brickson of the food drive. “It’s nice when they come to us, and we don’t have to go to them.”

For the food drive, the gym manager challenged local business members, city officials and residents to get involved in raising money for the food shelf by coming into the gym to work out.

City leaders such as Albert Lea Mayor Mike Murtaugh, City Manager Victoria Simonsen, Freeborn County Administrator John Kluever, Albert Lea Economic Development Agency Assistant Director Ryan Nolander and Albert Lea Fire Chief Paul Stieler participated in the event. Other leaders made cash donations.

Employees from Dave Syverson Auto Mall also came together to donate several boxes of non-perishable food items, Dickey pointed out.

Brickson said 670 pounds of food collected is “a very respectful amount for a two-day drive.”

Dickey said she hopes the drive can be expanded even more next year to include a challenge with the Albert Lea Family Y and Snap Fitness. That way even more can be raised.

“If we do it as a challenge, it’s not the point of who wins,” she said. “Because the Salvation Army wins.”

Brickson said on March 2 there will be a public presentation of the funds raised from the fitness food drive.