Harvest Hoedown helps feed the hungry

October 05, 1997


Staff Writer

WILLIAMSPORT - Painting a pumpkin was fun, said Hagerstown 10-year-old Kathryn Miller.

But it wasn't nearly as fun as stuffing straw into pantyhose and old clothes to create the man-sized scarecrow she dubbed "Scruff," Miller said.

That was definitely the highlight of Saturday's Harvest Hoedown, said the Northern Middle School sixth-grader, who said she was glad her mother brought her to Byron Memorial Park for the event.

Kneeling over the straw man in a futile attempt to tie his tie, Miller's mother, Rebecca Miller, 35, said she was impressed with both the event and the way the community comes together for a cause.


The Williamsport Ministerium - an organization of local churches - sponsors the annual event to benefit the community food bank and other local projects to feed the hungry.

It's a good cause that everyone can relate to, said Williamsport resident Cheryl Mentzer, who introduced the Millers to the event this year.

Mentzer, 39, also got her sister, Joyce Smith, of Clear Spring, to come out for the first time.

Mentzer said she thought they'd have fun because there are a lot of things to do and the prices are so reasonable you can do them all.

She and Smith teamed up to make their own scarecrow, which they named "Mr. Straw."

"I'm just being a kid today," said Mentzer, donning a headband with happy face antennae and a plastic spider in her hair.

Both kids and adults could find plenty at the Harvest Hoedown to keep them busy.

The daylong event included pumpkin painting, storytelling, dance and gymnastics demonstrations, craft booths, live Christian music, games, a bake sale and a food tent offering homemade soups, sandwiches and chicken dinners.

Organizers set a goal of collecting 5,000 pounds of non-perishable food this year.

Thanks to some major donations - including 3,400 pounds dropped off by the United Methodist Men and 960 pounds collected at Williamsport Elementary School - and a steady flow of smaller ones, that goal was exceeded early in the day, said Williamsport Councilman Earle Pereschuk.

By 1:30 p.m., close to 6,000 pounds of food had been donated, said Pereschuk, one of numerous volunteers.

For those that didn't bring food, cash donations were being collected in a large water jug.

Local food banks are seeing a greater demand for assistance, many times from people who are working but just can't makes ends meet, said Greg Martin, pastor of Zion Lutheran Church in Williamsport.

The Harvest Hoedown has always been a real community effort, giving members of different churches a common cause they can work for together, Martin said.

And it's has always been very family-oriented, he said.

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