Dec 1

Holiday Can-a-thon to kick off weekend festivities in Duluth

By: Erika Wells

Published: December 1, 2016

Members of the community can help provide food for those in need while working on holiday shopping lists in Duluth this Friday.

The Infinite Energy Center parking lot at 6400 Sugarloaf Parkway will serve as a collection site for the 34th annual 11Alive Holiday Can-a-thon from 5 a.m to 1 p.m.

The news station 11Alive and radio station Q100 will broadcast live from the event, which will include giveaways, mascot appearances, a visit from Santa and other special guests.

Each car that drives through with a donation will receive free admission to the the Gwinnett Daily Post’s Home for the Holiday Expo at the center this weekend.

“People can just drive on up and drop off their cans,” said Noreen Brantner, director of events for Southern Community Newspapers Inc., the Daily Post’s parent company. “The volunteers will be right there ready to help.”

In its second year, the Home for the Holiday Expo will feature more than 100 vendors selling handcrafted and retail items. The show will include live entertainment, children’s activities, food and more.

It will take place from noon to 6 p.m. Friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

“This is basically a one-stop shop for Christmas shopping and family fun,” Brantner said. “There’s something for everyone on your shopping list.”

The first 50 cars to drop off canned food donations will receive a free pass to the Magical Nights of Lights at Lake Lanier Islands in Buford.

This will be the second year the Infinite Energy Arena has been chosen as a Gwinnett donation drop-off site for the annual effort to help the nonprofit Salvation Army feed the hungry. The other sites are in Cobb, Fulton and Floyd counties.

Last year, the can drive resulted in enough food to stock the pantry for metro Atlanta and Floyd County for 10 months. This year’s goal is to collect enough to last a year, as more people seek help for the first time due to economic conditions.

The Can-a-thon has collected millions of cans of food for the organization’s food pantry with help from individuals, businesses and schools.

“On behalf of Infinite Energy Center, we are honored to participate again this year in the Can-a-thon event,” said Joseph Dennis, general manager of Infinite Energy Center. “The efforts of our compassionate staff and our generous venue partners provide continued support to our growing community.”

Last year, more than 220,000 donations were collected across all four counties.

Brantner, who will help at the Gwinnett collection site, hopes the county will join together to gather more cans than last year and top Floyd. The Rome site collected the most last year, she said.

“Last year, we collected over 55,000 cans, just short of Rome,” Brantner said of the friendly competition. “So we’re really trying to ramp up our total this year.”

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