Hundreds of Durham and Middlefield students will be going door-to-door this weekend during the 7th annual Community Round-up.
Starting at 9 a.m. Saturday, teams of students and their chaperones will fan out across the two towns to collect donated items — everything from canned goods to toiletries to gift cards — that will be given to local families in need.
"The first year that I went (in 2006), I walked away and I felt like my heart got bigger," says Rebecca Sinusas, who along with Kathy Bottini and Melissa Cook, took over as event coordinators this year following the retirement of Beth Galligan.
Last year, more than 13,000 items were collected during the Community Round-up and donated to Amazing Grace Food Pantry in Middletown, as well as to the smaller food pantries in Durham and Middlefield.
Some of the donations also support the Children’s Nutrition Program, a program offered to local students by the Durham Middlefield Youth and Family Services.
"If you're not home you can leave a bag, or even just a can or whatever you can by the front door and the kids will pick it up," says Sinusas. "Any little bit can help."
Checks, cash or gift card donations are also accepted (checks should be made out to the Local Wellness Council). In 2011, each town received about $1,500 in donations.
Prior to the start of the Community Round-up, members of the Durham Women's Club serve breakfast to the volunteers, ensuring they'll have the energy necessary for the three hour event.
Anyone interested in participating as a volunteer should go to the Coginchaug High School gymnasium after 9 a.m.