Organizer Nicholas Cooke said Saturday that he was pleased with the turnout for his food drive to benefit the Salvation Army.
The parking lot in front of Advanced Electronic Services was turned into a carnival Saturday to raise money and non-perishable food items for the organization that just a few weeks ago was struggling to meet the needs of its clients. Attendees could earn tickets to use at the many gaming stations by donating food items. Children ran through the parking lot to use the inflatable slide, take a shot at the football toss and the quick shot basketball game, try their luck at ring toss and attempt to pop a balloon with a dart. They could also attempt to win a goldfish or watch chickens race.
Kids and adults got excited about the cake walk and the dunking booth which featured targets including Mount Airy Mayor Deborah Cochran and Mount Airy Fire Chief Zane Poindexter. While the air was perhaps a little chillier than the dunking booth targets would have liked, they were happy to help out the cause.
“It’s such a good cause to be able to help the Salvation Army. That’s what we as public servants are here to do. I think, and I’m sure Deborah does too, that it’s important to be here to help them,” said Poindexter after his turn in the booth. “It’s a good turnout so far. The little kids seem to enjoy it the most. You just see the smiles on their faces and they may not even know who they’re dunking but they’re smiling. I enjoy doing stuff like this.”
Dan Breuer, a driver for the Advanced Electronic Services racing team, and Jackie May with Racing Ministry were at the event with two of their vehicles. The AES racing team was scheduled to race Saturday night and said if they were able to race they would donate part of any winnings to the cause.
“I enjoy doing stuff like this. I can let the little kids get in the car sometimes which is something a lot of the other drivers can’t do because of insurance,” said May. “I know times are tough around here so it’s good for people to get out and have a little fun. The Salvation Army really helped out a whole lot with my family when we needed them. It’s kind of emotional for me to be able to come out here and pay my respect for what they’ve done.”
“I brought my wife and kids from Mooresville for this because we heard what they were going to do and we wanted to make sure to come out and help them out a little bit,” said Breuer.
Cooke said he was pleased with the outpouring of support from the community as several businesses and individuals donated items for the silent auction while others helped out with the games and food.
Those who know Cooke were not surprised by his desire to hold a food drive.
“This is Nicholas’ calling in life. He’s been doing stuff like this ever since he was little. He’s always loved to help people,” said Suzanne Bumgardner, a family friend.
Jamie Martin served as the event’s emcee.
“I think it’s awesome. I think the need is as great as I’ve ever seen with people needing assistance and help. The coolest thing to me is that a 17-year-old young man had the vision, organized it and got all this together,” she said. “It’s humbling when you see all these people, all this stuff and what heart Nicholas has. He’s got a servant’s heart.”
Cooke’s goal was to raise $1,000 in addition to filling a truck with non-perishable food items. As of press time Sunday, there was no word on the final count.
Contact Morgan Wall at email@example.com or 719-1929.