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Santa holiday a food drive donation box

AUBURN UNIVERSITY, Ala. — Sherri Mulder collected more than 600 donations from her community by kicking off this past holiday season with a festive photo booth food drive.

As the cost of food has increased, so has the demand for food assistance. However, food pantries have strained to keep up with this demand. As a solution for the lack of supplies at local food pantries, Mulder, an Alabama Cooperative Extension System SNAP-Ed educator in Randolph and Chambers counties, collected more than 600 items by hosting a food drive through a photo booth in three locations throughout Randolph County.

Picture Perfect

woman standing between two men in red holiday clothesThe photo booth included a holiday-themed kitchen backdrop where families who donated could take cheerful photos for a donation to the food drive. The first appearance of the photo booth was Dec. 1 at the Wedowee Christmas Parade. The photo booth idea originated from the parade in 2021, where Mulder walked with an Alabama Extension float and used a shopping cart to collect donations.

In 2022, Mulder set up the booth before the parade and promoted the food drive on social media. During the event, the community donated 64 items.

Magic On Main

The next location was during a Magic on Main event in Roanoke. Magic on Main is a community organization dedicated to revitalizing downtown Roanoke, according to its website. Magic on Main hosted an ice-skating event and holiday craft fair Dec. 3,. Mulder said the organization was looking for a photo booth vendor, so she reached out to them about setting up the photo booth food drive. They loved the idea and played a significant role in getting the word out about the partnership. During the event, Mulder collected 306 items.

“I can’t thank the Magic on Main committee enough for helping us get the word out about the photo booth this past year,” Mulder said. “It is community partners like them that help us all accomplish the goals we set.”

Folsom Headstart Center

One final location for the photo booth was Dec. 16 at the Folsom Headstart Center in Wedowee. Mulder said the center’s director heard about the photo booth and wanted to incorporate it into their holiday celebrations. Mulder felt it was a perfect fit for the center to host a food drive. The Headstart joined forces with additional community partners to bolster the food drive’s success.

“I would like to thank the staff at Folsom Head Start, Herren’s Body Shop, H&L Construction, Temple of Refuge Church of the Living God, Of The Apostolic Faith, Kutie Bugs Boutique, Boondocks BBQ & Creamery and Union Baptist Church Youth Group for their donations,” Mulder said.

In the future, Mulder said she would like to host the photo booth food drive again. She is currently partnering with the Randolph-Roanoke Career Tech Center to build another micro pantry. The location has not been decided, but Mulder said she would like to use donations to fill these pantries.

More Information

For more information about food drives through the Randolph County Extension Office or to contact Mulder, call 256-357-2841 or email her at slm0127@aces.edu.

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