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Grab and Give for Food and Fun

By Clayton Rye - Farm News staff writer | Mar 10, 2021



MASON CITY — The Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau has sponsored its annual Grab and Give Grocery Event held late each winter. The ninth annual event was held February 23 at HyVee West in Mason City. The purpose of event is to supply food and raise money for the Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank in Mason City.

Area businesses sponsor teams of three employees to compete for five minutes gathering groceries with the goal of seeing how close a team can come to $250.00 worth of groceries as totaled at the checkout, either over or under that amount. Discounts and taxes are applied to the total. The groceries collected by all the teams is donated to the Food Bank.

According to the rules, “teams are not allowed to use calculators, pens, pencils, or cell phones to total their groceries.” All calculations are done in their heads.

A list of items needed by the food bank is given to the participants about five minutes before starting their five minutes of competition.

This year 19 teams participated with three heats held to reduce congestion. The event began at 9 a.m. when the store is not as busy so teams can move quickly in their quest to fill their carts with at least ten different kinds of groceries from the list.

Carol Clayton, who is a volunteer in charge of day to day operations at Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank, said the food bank’s clientele has changed due to Covid. The regulars are afraid to use the facility and there is more than the usual number of first time recipients. The food bank is open Monday through Friday from 1-4 p.m. at 2650 Skyview Lane in Mason City.

She said the food bank is especially in need of cash donations now.

Cash donations from seven businesses that wanted to contribute to the event without sending a team totaled $2100.00.

When all three heats were completed and all the accumulated groceries were checked out, Sarah Tweeten, who is office administrator for the Cerro Gordo County Farm Bureau, said the total amount of groceries donated to Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank was $6233.82.

The top three teams who came closest to hitting the $250.00 target were North Iowa Co-op, Pioneer Seed (who sent two teams), and HyVee West.

The winning North Iowa Co-op team was 36 cents under $250.00. Team members were Sarah Sturges, Brent Ausborn, and Abby Serventez.

Hawkeye Harvest Food Bank primarily serves Cerro Gordo County and its eight surrounding counties. However, its coverage area is 14 counties and extends as far west as Kossuth County.

“We are there to provide assistance to anyone,” said Carol Clayton. “If they come, we give them food.”

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