The Honey Brook Food Pantry’s 2nd Annual March Madness Competition food drive brought in 8,506 pounds of food and $2,517 for a grand total of 11,023 pounds and dollars, a 37 percent increase over last year’s event.

“The Honey Brook Food Pantry thanks all organizations who participated in the 2nd Annual March Madness Competition. Every team did an outstanding job. Congratulations to both winning teams and all 18 participating organizations,” said Honey Brook Food Pantry Chairman Kenneth Ross. “By far the most meaningful and tremendous demonstration this year is recognizing the great tribute expressed by the community embracing our mission. It has been six years since we opened and we can feel and measure the strength through community challenges such as this.”

This year’s winners were the Honey Brook Elementary Center in the Organization Division and Honey Brook Branch of M&T Bank in the Retail and Service Division.

Some ideas used by winner Honey Brook Elementary Center’s Captain, Principal Chasity Cooper, included building excitement through the use of themes such as blue jeans days and competition among the grades.

It was a three-week dash to the finish with the competition kicking off March 11 and weigh-ins held every week until March 29. The groups were divided into two categories, Organization Division and Retail and Service Division.

The excitement of the year started with board committee member, Donna Horvath, co-owner of Honeybrook Golf Club. As last year’s originator of the March Madness idea, she personally brought back the eight original competing teams and recruited an additional 10 for a total of 18 teams competing in brackets to see who could collect the most pounds of food and cash for the pantry.

Those teams included Bakery Feeds, Baldwin Electric, Benco Technology, Good Food Inc, Honey Brook Elementary Center, Kemper, R-V Industries, Heatherwood, BB&T, Blue Marsh Insurance, Eby's IGA Market, Greenside Grill, Suburban Brewery, Hickory House, Knies Insurance, M&T Bank, Nova Care Rehab, and The Long Way Home.

Dave Larson, Marketing Manager of RV Industries, dubbed the March Madness guru by the team, inspired the teams to get more creative, and more competitive. As March Madness score keeper, he urged folks to go higher and higher. He kept in close touch with the teams, designing the brackets and flyers and remained open to any and all suggestions to build the momentum. His goal was to bring out the best in each individual and company participating. His sense is that everyone wants a win and locally everyone wins when the Honey Brook Food Pantry wins.

Becky Zeeger, HBFP volunteer coordinator, again arranged for food pick-ups at various locations, the weekly weighing of the food, and the sorting. In addition, their volunteers provided the man hours and muscle to pull off a huge success.

“The donations are quite timely with the declining availability of public food and retail grocery goods,” said Ross. “The event really brought the community together and raised a tremendous level of awareness about hunger in the Honey Brook area.”

Future food pantry fundraising events include the upcoming Golf Outing on July 16 and the Annual Music Fest on Aug. 24. Both events will be held at the Honeybrook Golf Club, 1422 Cambridge Road, Honey Brook.

For more information visit www.honeybrookfoodpantry.org or call 610-273-6102.

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