Folks attending the New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop in Mount Olive on December 31 are encouraged to bring canned food or cash donations for the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina.
And, those planning on watching online from the comfort of their homes can support the Food Bank, too, through a virtual food drive.
Financial contributions have the added benefits of matching programs this year: friends of Food Bank will double all Food Bank contributions, up to $600,000, contributed through December 31, and Mt. Olive Pickle will match up to $5,000 in donations for the virtual food drive, which ends January 5.
“We’ve always hosted a food drive as part of the Pickle Drop, because typically after the holidays most food pantry supplies are depleted,” said Lynn Williams, Mt. Olive Pickle Company spokesperson. “Our food drive is important every year, but in this crazy time of COVID, it is even more so.”
Raleigh-based Food Bank and its 800 partner agencies now serve 35% more neighbors in their 34-county area than before COVID-19, she noted.
The food drive is a pickle drop tradition. Since 2007, people who bring canned food or make contributions to the Food Bank receive a chance to win door prizes from the Mt. Olive Pickle gift shop. The grand prize is a three-foot pool pickle like the New Year’s Eve pickle. The door prizes are awarded immediately following the drop and fireworks (a 2019 addition). The event averages a half-ton of food or more.
In 2020, the New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop was held virtually, and with it the company hosted a virtual food drive. Friends and fans of the company contributed $5,358, and Mt. Olive matched $5,000, for a total of $10,358 raised.
“We are so grateful for the people who bring their donations or make a gift of money to the Food Bank on New Year’s Eve,” Ms. Williams said. “Their generosity makes the Pickle Drop extra special.”
For details on the Pickle Drop, which gets underway at 5 p.m. in front of the University of Mount Olive’s Kornegay Arena, and the virtual food drive, which has already started, visit the company’s website at www.mtolivepickles.com.
Mt. Olive Pickle will hold the 22nd annual New Year’s Eve Pickle Drop on Friday, December 31, 2021 on the campus of the University of Mount Olive, 634 Henderson Street. Food trucks will start serving at 5 p.m., live music will start at 5:30, and the evening includes line dancing led by deejay L.J. Manley, and free pickles. The New Year’s Eve pickle makes its descent at 7 p.m. into a giant pickle jar with the help of the Mount Olive Fire Department, and fireworks and door prizes will follow.
“We always encourage folks to get here early. The whole thing used to be over at 7:05 – as soon as we awarded all the door prizes,” Ms. Williams said. “We’ve added a little more time to it with the fireworks, but it will still be over by 7:30. That means some folks can catch other, later New Year’s celebrations, or, like many of us here, you can be home in bed well before midnight.”
The following is a list of suggested food drive items. Pop-top items and microwavable cups are preferred:
- Canned fruits and vegetables
- Canned meats, beans and soups
- Cereals, whole grain pastas and rice
- Peanut butter
- Paper products
- Hygiene Items: Feminine products, hand sanitizer, toothbrushes, soap, shaving items, etc.
- For infants and kids: diapers, wipes, formula, infant cereal, mac & cheese cups, crackers, juice boxes, etc.
- For seniors: Nutritional shakes and drinks, adult hygiene products
In business since 1926 in its hometown of Mount Olive, NC, Mt. Olive Pickle Company manufactures the best-selling brand of pickles, peppers and relishes in the United States. The company has enjoyed a relationship with the Food Bank of Central & Eastern North Carolina since its inception in 1980.