Jackson Can-a-thon supporters kick off the 2019 campaign, the 26th year in a row that the city and Salvation Army have partnered to help those in need at the holidays.

The city of Jackson, in partnership with the Salvation Army, has once again started the holiday giving season off with its program to provide food for families in need this holiday season and throughout the next year.

This legacy of giving out Thanksgiving baskets starts with the city of Jackson’s 26th annual Can-a-thon and Holiday Food Drive. Thanks to the generosity of Jackson and Butts County residents, enough food and money are collected to not only stock the pantry shelves of the local Salvation Army for one year, but to also provide turkeys or chickens, canned foods, dry goods and staples to fill Thanksgiving and Christmas baskets for local families, city officials said.

The result this year is a Thanksgiving meal with all the trimmings distributed to 105 Jackson and Butts County families on Monday, Nov. 25, which was also the official start of the Can-a-thon drive.

Starting in early fall each year a committee, representing the city and the Salvation Army, begins the process of identifying families in need of help and purchasing needed food items. A Butts County Sheriff’s Office inmate detail helps fill up the boxes of food and volunteers distribute the Thanksgiving baskets.

“We’ve done it for so long, we now have a good system going,” said Cindy Murray, the city’s director of finance and administration and lead staff person for the holiday baskets program.

“While city of Jackson employees administer the program, credit goes to our community,” Jackson Mayor Kay Pippin said. “All of the food items and money used to purchase the turkeys and chickens are donated by the Jackson-Butts County community during the city’s annual Can-a-thon drive.”

Food items are now being collected for the city’s 2019 Can-a-thon and can be dropped off at City Hall, Dollar General Market, Piggly Wiggly, Ingles and various other businesses throughout Butts County. Collections during the drive, which continues through Dec. 13, are generally enough to keep the food pantry shelves at the Salvation Army stocked for the entire year.

Supporters of the Can-a-thon can also contribute monetary donations. Checks should be made payable to “Jackson Community Fund c/o City of Jackson, PO Box 838, Jackson, Ga. 30233.”

Donation envelopes can be found in this week’s Jackson Progress-Argus newspaper.

Schools and businesses in the community will collect canned goods and non-perishable food items during the campaign and awards will be given for the largest donations received in various categories.

The 2018 Can-a-thon yielded 22,237 cans of food and provided holiday meals for over 500 people, city officials said. Last year’s drive also enabled the preparation of 108 food baskets for families at Thanksgiving, and 141 baskets for Christmas.

For more information, call Jackson City Hall at 770-775-7535.