CHESTER - While many who plan to participate in Chester's Christmas Parade may give away candy, a group of people from First United Methodist Church of Chester will be collecting from the crowd.
Church member Sherry Emery announced Sunday the church will use a pickup truck for the parade, and several church members will walk along with it, collecting non-perishable food items for the local branch of the Friends in Service Here organization, which assists those in need locally.
"We're going to have some of the kids from the church and some of the adults walking with the truck," Emery said, adding the collected items will be placed in the back of the truck and then delivered directly to F.I.S.H. About 11 members have volunteered for the job so far.
Emery said the idea was formed when it was discovered the church did not have enough time to dedicate to a door-to-door collection.
"In the past we've had a door-to-door collection, a food drive, where we would distribute bags one week and then the following week we would collect the filled bag," Emery said. "We just ran out of time this fall (to do that)."
Emery noted the main reason behind the collection is continued support of the F.I.S.H. organization.
"We wanted to get some more foods, some more canned items for F.I.S.H.," she said.
Only non-perishable food items will be accepted at the parade, Emery said, such as instant mashed potatoes, canned soup, canned fruit or rice. Basic household staples such as paper towels and dish detergent also will be accepted.
"I know we've not done this (parade route collection) before, and we hope that people will respond," she said.
For Emery, collecting items for the F.I.S.H. organization is the best way to help those in need living in the area.
"The way I look at the F.I.S.H. organization, it's like neighbors helping neighbors," she said. "We're just trying to help out those less fortunate people in our communities who really need some help right now."
The Chester Christmas Parade will take place at 2 p.m. Dec. 5., beginning at the corner of First Street and Virginia Avenue.