(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) There's a "Food Fight" happening between area businesses, but it's not nearly as messy as you might think.
For the entire month of September, 34 local businesses are battling it out in a friendly competition for Second Harvest's ninth annual "Food Fight."
“We will see who the winners are and see who has raised the most amount of food and funds,” said Melissa Ryser, Second Harvest Development Specialist. “Each dollar that’s given equals 2 lbs of food, so that really helps the businesses as far as to say we’ve won the competition and done our part,” said Ryser.
Area businesses set out donation bins for customers to bring in shelf-stable food items, often in exchange for some perks. Hazels Coffee is pouring a free cup of coffee for donating customers each Sunday, as well as giving them 10% off their order everyday. Country Cookie is offering a free classic cookie for each donating customer.
“Even if they only get one free cookie, they’ll still bring in an armful of cans just because they want to support us and they want to support Second Harvest and they want to support the town,” said Josie O'Daniell, Country Cookie baker.
The donations, canned or monetary, go towards Second Harvest's 'Campus Cupboard' program that sends students home with shelf-stable food for the weekend.
“Lots of people bring peanut butter and jelly, things that kids really love. Boxed macaroni and cheese. All of the good stuff,” said Ryser.
The businesses range from local coffee shops to the Boy Scouts of America. The competitors are categorized on size of business, as they try for the coveted 'Golden Can Awards.' While the food drive helps the fight to end hunger, it also shines a light on small business.
“Every single year, we do Second Harvest. It’s always extremely successful. We fill up like at least two of the Second Harvest boxes, they’re usually overflowing,” said O'Daniell.
Second Harvest officials said they appreciate the local communities support, especially during a time that's been particularly difficult for small businesses.
“They’re working hard for us and they really care about the community and really depend on the community too,” said Ryser.
For a complete list of local businesses competing in 2020's "Food Fight" or to make a monetary donation directly to a business, visit Second Harvest's website.