As you prepare for all your family traditions associated with the Linton Fourth of July parade, add a new one to the list.
The six churches that make up the Linton Community Food Pantry have decided to have a float in this year's parade. But instead of parade-goers receiving something like candy or other goodies, the churches are asking you to give them something.
And in return, your gift will help others.
"We'll have a float with shelves on it like our food pantry," food pantry coordinator Martha Roach said. "The representatives of the six churches will be pushing food carts donated by Angell's."
The churches are asking that parade-goers bring some kind of nonperishable food item to donate to the pantry. The church members will collect the items along the parade route.
"Our goal is to fill the float by the end of the parade," Roach said. "For one thing, we wanted to make people aware of the food pantry. We want all the churches represented so it shows we all work together."
The six churches associated with the food pantry are St. Peter Catholic Church, Saron United Church of Christ, Linton First Methodist Church, Linton First Christian Church, Linton Assembly of God, and Linton's Trinity Lutheran Church.
The goal for the parade is to gather as much food as possible so the food pantry can continue to serve the community.
From July 1 of last year to the end of this month, the food pantry will have served 8,000 people.
"We want to feed the hungry. (The late) Father (Hilary) Vieck, when we first started out, we asked him how we should determine who needs help, and he just said 'Feed them', Roach recalled.
Father Vieck helped start the food pantry nearly 20 years go. Saron United Church of Christ joined the cause in February 2008, Roach said.
Roach is looking forward to seeing how the community responds to their float.
"It's something that has never been done before. Like our motto says, 'A can can make a difference.' We do get so many donations, and people are good," Roach said.
If you forget to bring food items, you can also offer a monetary donation.
The idea for this project came from Mike Roth, co-pastor at Saron United Church of Christ.
"Last year after the parade, Mike Roth mentioned there aren't any church groups having floats. He got to thinking ... he's always got his wheels going. We thought this would be a neat thing to try and do," Roach explained.
The food pantry, located at St. Peter Catholic Church, on the northeast corner of the intersection of 4th and E Sts. NE, offers more than food. There's also a thrift shop.
Roach said you can get clothes, small household appliances and some other items.
"The clothes, they are very nice and sorted. Nothing hangs there more than three weeks," Roach noted.
After three weeks, the clothes are recycled. The Methodist church takes some of the clothes and distributes them to the needy in the Appalachian Mountain regions.
Roach added that the First Christian Church does a lot with the clothes because it has a 24-hour drop-off location.
Angell's in Linton does a lot to help the food pantry, Roach said. "Angell's helps us so much. They do deliver, and we buy a lot from there."
If you would like to help with the float at the parade -- which is July 5 at 10 a.m. this year -- you can contact Roach at 847-2931. You can also call any of the participating churches.
So make sure to bring some nonperisable food items to the parade, or you can offer a monetary donation.
This is a great idea by a caring and compassionate group of people.