Advance America holds canned food drive for ARM

Advance America in Elizabethton hosted Santa Saturday for the community to take their pictures with. Employees dressed up as elves to help spread the holiday cheer. The price of admission: canned food.

Manager Destini Byers said the canned food drive was meant to support the Assistance and Resource Ministries (ARM).

“There are not many places in Elizabethton to get photos with Santa,” Byers said. “We wanted it to stay here.”

She said she has only been a manager of the location for a few months, but she loves to hold events like this for the community. In particular, she said she likes to keep these kinds of fundraisers local, and ARM was a perfect fit.

“A lot of people struggle to have a meal,” she said.

A resident of the area her whole life, Byers said the service ARM provides the community is invaluable.

“ARM is there for people when they are having a hard time,” she said. “They are not picky.”

She said part of the purpose behind the canned food drive was also to raise awareness.

“The whole point of it is to get the word out,” Byers said. “We are here to help people.”

ARM gets a lot of its food and clothing from larger organizations like Second Harvest Food Bank, but the organization still heavily relies on other donations from all areas of the community, including drives like this one.

“Anytime you need that little extra, we are here to help,” Byers said.

Those who donated canned food got to take a picture with Santa right there. They also could enjoy refreshments and raffle prizes, as well as simply spending time with Santa and his helpers.

Byers said the experience has been positive, especially since it gives them a chance to give back to a community she grew up in but didn’t always work for.

“Up until recently, I did not work in this community,” she said.

Now that the food drive has taken place, Byers said she wants to hold similar events and drives in the future for many different organizations who need the help. Organizations who are interested in putting something together can call them at 423-543-6817 and ask for Destini.

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