published Friday, May 11th, 2012

Town Talk

HEARD ON THE TOWN

TOMORROW IS a very important day for Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

That's when Campbell Soup Co. joins forces with National Association of Letter Carriers to help the Chattanooga-area Stamp Out Hunger food drive.

Now in its 20th year, the event has grown from a regional to a national effort that provides assistance to millions of Americans struggling to put food on the table, according to Holly Ashley, director of development at Chattanooga Food Bank.

The food drive is the nation's largest single-day food drive benefiting Feeding America, the nation's largest domestic hunger-relief organization. During 2011, Americans donated 70.2 million pounds of food. That was the eighth consecutive year that at least 70 million pounds were collected by letter carriers.

Chattanoogans and residents in surrounding communities are encouraged to leave a sturdy bag containing nonperishable foods, such as canned soup, canned vegetables, pasta, rice or cereal beside their mailbox before the time of regular mail delivery Saturday. Letter carriers will collect the food as they deliver mail on their routes and transport the donations to the Chattanooga Area Food Bank.

"Our inventory takes a hit after the holidays, and this annual food drive helps us restock our supplies," Jen Ferking, food drive coordinator for the local food bank, said in a news release. "Items most needed are peanut butter, canned tuna, fruit and peas. However, all items are accepted and appreciated."

EAR TO THE GROUND

A RACE for Interfaith Homeless Network that will help end family homelessness in our area will be May 19 at the Tennessee Riverwalk, beginning at Shelter 3 at the C.B. Robinson Bridge. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. The race will start at 9 a.m.

According to Kelley Nave, United Way of Greater Chattanooga director of public relations, the second annual Race To End Family Homelessness is a 5K Race and a 1-mile fun walk.

There will be awards for winners and T-shirts and goody bags for all preregistered entrants, Nave said. "This is a flat, easy course that can help a runner boost his or her personal best (time).

Entry for walkers is $15 if preregistered or $20 the day of the race. Entry for runners is $15 if preregistered or $25 the day of the race.

For more information, visit www.ihnchattanooga.org/runwalk.htm or the Chattanooga Track Club website at www.chattanoogatrackclub.org.

The race is sponsored by Volkert & Associates Inc., First Christian Church, Hippie 106.9 FM and Dick's Sporting Goods.

Interfaith Homeless Network also is sponsoring a best birdhouse contest with the birdhouses to be awarded as race trophies.

To vote for your favorite birdhouse, go to www.facebook.com/InterfaithHomelessNetwork.

"The birdhouses are the awards for first, second and third place in each division." Nave said. "We have 48 birdhouses."

FUNDRAISER

THE SECOND ANNUAL Hot Dogs For Black Dogs fundraiser benefiting the Humane Educational Society will be at Armando's, 4767 Highway 58, Monday through May 19. The restaurant will donate $1 for every hot dog sold during the week. The money is earmarked to help pay adoption fees for black dogs, which are least likely to be adopted in animal shelters across the country, according to an msnbc.com report.

Among those in animal rescue circles, the phenomenon is commonplace enough to have earned its own name: black dog syndrome, the website noted.

Madeline Bernstein, president of Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals in Los Angeles, told msnbc.com that because black dogs are the hardest to adopt out, they're in shelters the longest and, therefore, the most likely to be euthanized.

Some shelters are developing clever ways of making black dogs noticed. Bernstein said black dogs in her town's kennels are "all decked out." Pink ribbons are tied around female dogs' necks, and male dogs wear bow ties.

Ken and Charlsie Land, who are heading the fundraising event here, are proud owners of a black dog. The couple raised more than $300 during last year's event and hope to top that this year.

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