Hocker's and Mountaire to host 'Back to Natural' drive

On Saturday, Sept. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Mountaire will be teaming up with Hocker’s Supercenter for “Back to Natural.” The “Ole’ Timers Day Food Drive,” is designed to a fun-filled event and will be held in the Hocker’s parking lot in Clarksville.

“Hocker’s is one of our stores that we serve chicken to. So it’s just a friendship and partnership that we got together with them, and I’d like to think this will be the first of many,” said Robert Marino, corporate director of community relations for Mountaire Farms.

Those who go to shop at Hocker’s will be handed a list of items needed for the drive, which shoppers can then buy and donate. Needed items include canned string beans and corn, as well as boxed stuffing and dessert mixes.

This is not the only food-related charity event Mountaire holds – the company is known for its “Thanksgiving for Thousands,” a food-drive event they have been holding for 18 years that allows them to help feed some 40,000 people Thanksgiving dinner.

“Back to Natural” is a smaller food drive, from which all the donated food items will be immediately distributed to local food banks and soup kitchens, so they can be used right away.

“We wanted to do this to help out some of the smaller food banks in the area,” explained Marino.

Outside of Hocker’s, the recreational aspects of the event will be in full swing, featuring live country music performances from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. and a car show. Registration for the show is free, and Marino said that classic car owners may simply drive their cars to the event to register. A four-hour live broadcast on WGMD radio, beginning at 9 a.m. will also be going on from the Hocker’s parking lot.

One of the main events will be the ever-popular Mountaire Chickin’ Pickin’ Championship. In the championship, competitors will race to pick and shred the most chicken, by weight, in the span of five minutes.

“We would love for people to come out and register for the Chickin’ Pickin’. They’ll find that a great experience. There should be some television personalities there, as well, picking some chickens. WGMD will have someone there picking, and there will be awards for the best chicken picker,” said Marino.

Marino said that, although Mountaire would love to bring in more than two truckloads of food, they would like to collect “just as much as we can.”

He noted that the company’s food-drive efforts are designed to give food to those who need it, rather than serving meals directly to them.

“I found, years ago, to me it was a little bit demeaning to see people sitting around a table and being photograph eating a meal like that, whereas, if you give the people food that they can cook themselves, all denominations, all cultures can eat in the confines of their own homes, with their own families and friends. That’s what this is really about.”

“The purpose of this is the food drive itself,” he added of Saturday’s event. “This is actually an extension of collecting food for those who are in need. That’s really what this is all about. The rest of it is just a means to get people to come.”

Hocker’s Supercenter is located at 34960 Atlantic Avenue, in Clarksville, on the corner of Routes 26 and 17. For more information, call (302) 934-4170.