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Local residents pool efforts to stock shelves at food bank

August 22, 2007|By MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN - It came down to a dare.

Wearing sweat shirts over their bikinis, Elaina Previte and Faith Volkening finally got in the water Tuesday night during the Swim to Stock Shelves charity event at Potterfield Municipal Pool.

"I dared Faith to actually go in the water," Elaina said. So the two 13-year-olds marched together with Faith's sister, Clair Volkening, 6, into the pool.

It was for a good cause. All those who came to the pool Tuesday night from 6 to 9 p.m. were admitted free if they brought a nonperishable food item for the beleaguered Community Food Bank of Hagerstown.

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About a dozen youngsters braved the unseasonable temperatures to enjoy the free swim while doing something nice for the community.

Lifeguard Al Volkening came up with the idea for the benefit after learning the food bank at St. Mark's Lutheran Church was in need.

She and the other lifeguards volunteered their time Tuesday night for the effort.

Lewie Thomas, Hagerstown's recreation facilities coordinator, said there was some thought of canceling the event because of the weather, but the coordinators still wanted people to come.

"Al put a lot into this. It was her pet project," Thomas said.

Ten-year-old Tyler Stubbs said his grandfather told him about it.

"We have been here a lot this summer, so we decided to come tonight for this cause," said the sixth-grader at Western Heights Middle School.

Malcolm Dorm, 12, is also a Western Heights student.

"I love to swim and I'm good at it," he said. Bringing canned food was better than paying $2.50, he said.

Domino's Pizza donated a percentage of its proceeds from pizza sales at the pool to the food bank. And there was cake, too.

Beth Stouffer, volunteer coordinator at the food bank, said after word got around that the shelves were empty, contributions of food and money began to pour in.

"Al is really put together," Stouffer said, meaning that the young lifeguard/college student already knows what is important in life. "She has dedicated herself to helping people."

Newly retired St. Mark's pastor, David Kaplan, came to the event with food for the cause.

"And I wanted to thank Al for her work," Kaplan said.

Hours for the food bank are Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. Clients must show referrals from agencies such as The Salvation Army, Community Action Council and the Department of Social Services.

For more information about the Community Food Bank, call 301-733-7550 Monday through Thursday from 1 to 3 p.m. or call Stouffer at 301-739-6795.

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