A local group of adults with disabilities put on quite an affair Saturday.
Surry Community College’s AKTION club, which consists of adults with disabilities, was at Lowe’s Foods in Mount Airy. The group made the store this year’s venue for an annual food drive the organization holds.
The group’s coordinator, Diane Barnett, said the holiday food drive isn’t the only thing the group’s members do to benefit the community. She said the group is always volunteering with organizations such as Habitat for Humanity and hosts an annual Bottom Lands Mud Bog to benefit the Mount Airy Easter Seals.
According to Barnett, the group has also held the holiday season food drive in years past. However, this year it was bigger than ever.
One could not easily miss the happenings, as a ladder truck from the Mount Airy Fire Department was parked in front of Lowe’s Foods with its ladder fully extended. The Mount Airy Police Department also had a delegation on site, and Santa Claus even made an appearance.
Hot chocolate was available and the Chick-fil-A cow was present and offering high-fives to volunteers and store patrons.
A group of local musicians — a compilation of three local bands — also provided entertainment at the food drive. According to Barnett the entertainment was coordinated by Mac Collins, who she said donates his spare time to teach AKTION club members music lessons.
One such student, Suzanne Stewart, even sang at Saturday’s food drive.
Club members were accepting food and monetary donations. According to Barnett, all food and money collected at the event will go to the Yokefellow Ministries and Salvation Army food banks.
Barnett said last year’s food drive, which was held at Galaxy Foods, was much smaller and raised about $400 and 500 pounds of food for the two food banks.
She said the larger venue and more happening scene should aid the group in raising far more this year. Though figures as to how much the group collected this year weren’t available as of Saturday evening, Barnett said 1500 pounds of food and $1,000 was a realistic goal for this year’s drive.
Barnett said one thing helping drive donations was that Lowe’s Foods allowed the group to make pre-filled grocery bags. Store patrons could simply purchase a bag and donate it to the group’s food drive.
According to Barnett the college’s AKTION club, which has existed for five years, is made up of many exceptional people who try to make a difference in the community.The club has seen members as young as 18-years-old and as old as 55.
She said the club is part of a network of AKTION clubs that spans the United States.
Barnett said AKTION club members are all Surry Community College students. At the college, they learn skills such as functional reading and math, independent living and work skills.
That stated. even when class is over the mission isn’t complete for the members of the club. Barnett said that’s when the real action and the real lessons begin — when AKTION club members set their aim at making the community a better place.
Andy is a staff writer for The News and can be reached at (336) 415-4698.