The office of State Farm insurance agent Kelley Tierney is hoping to collect 4,000 cans of soup by Oct. 31. / Photo courtesy Kelley Tierney

Can you spare a can of soup? Kelley Tierney State Farm aims to collect 4,000 cans by October’s end

BUCKHANNON – State Farm agent Kelley Tierney hopes to collect 4,000 cans of soup for their annual soup drive to benefit Upshur County Schools.

Tierney said this is the third year her office has done the soup drive, but this will be the first year it will benefit all the schools in the county through the Upshur County Schools Backpack program.

“The first year, one of our insureds worked in the Upshur County school system and she was talking about preparing backpacks for kids and they were concerned there wouldn’t be enough food in the backpacks for Thanksgiving vacation,” Tierney said. “I think it was the middle school we helped the first year. At that time, they were only giving out about 100 bags per week, so we sat down and said, ‘gosh, if we could come up with 900 cans of soup, at least every child would have a can of soup for every day that they were off for Thanksgiving.’”

During the first soup drive, they collected about 1,700 cans of soup and last year they amassed 3,667.

“This year, we have a goal of 4,000, and we know that it could be iffy with COVID, but if there was this much of a need prior, then we know there’s going to be more now,” Tierney said. “We know it’s going to be more difficult, but we’re still shooting for 4,000 total cans.”

She said her office will match any cans brought in before Oct. 31.

“It is amazing that a can of soup can make a difference to a hungry child, and I think people forget that something so insignificant to so many, makes such a world of difference to others,” Tierney said. “We don’t expect a case of soup; we love it when folks bring down cases, but a couple of cans can make a huge difference and it’s not going to break the bank either.”

She said they decided to collect cans of soup and Spaghetti-Os because it is simple to prepare and provides necessary nutrients.

“Soup is something kids can fix themselves – most of the soup cans now have the pop-tops, so you’re not having to deal with can openers or anything like that, and lots of households may not have a working stove, but households usually have a microwave, so they can pop that top open dump it in a bowl, stick it in the microwave and have something substantial to eat,” Tierney said. “It’s something that a six-year-old could master, something that a senior in high school could take care of, so that’s really why we’ve limited it to soup or Spaghetti-Os.”

Tierney said they are currently a little behind where they would like to be and hope more donations will come in soon.

“We’d like to collect 500 a week, I’m assuming we’re probably right around 500 to 600 right now and we’re in our second week, so I know we’re running behind,” Tierney said. “We’ve got some older clientele, so we’ve been telling them, ‘hey if you don’t feel safe getting out and about, especially due to the increase of positivity in Upshur County with COVID-19 testing, give us a call and we will do a curbside pickup.’”

Donations can be dropped off at her office at 115 East Main Street or contact them via telephone at 304-472-5552.

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