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Weight Watchers collects food for local pantry

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Weight Watchers International's 2009 Lose For Good campaign against world hunger wraps up today.

The company asked its clients to help feed the hungry in two ways, according to Jen Harring, lead volunteer for Weight Watchers' seven locations in McDonough.

"Weight Watchers challenged its members nationwide that for every pound they lost, Weight Watchers International would donate $1," said Harring. "On the local level, we challenged members to donate food to the Helping In His Name Food Pantry."

Weight Watchers members in McDonough, said Harring, had lost a total of 1,077 pounds as of Thursday, and had collected 2,300 pounds of food. She said members who attend meetings at McDonough Christian Church have donated more than 1,000 pounds of food.

Although Harring did not provide the 2008 campaign totals for locations in McDonough, she said this year's Lose For Good endeavor far exceeded that of last year.

"I think there was a lot more preparation this year, because we were learning from what we did and didn't do last year," she said.

According to the Weight Watchers web site, the 2008 Lose For Good project resulted in 4 million pounds lost by members, and 1.5 million pounds in food donations.

Harring said that during the 2009 campaign, some members brought an amount of food corresponding to the number of pounds they had lost since joining Weight Watchers. She said one local couple, which had lost a combined total of 140 pounds in the program, recently donated 140 pounds of food.

"Some have had to bring [donations] in on hand trucks and backpacks, and/or have had to make several trips ... just to get their donations in the door," said Harring. "It has been truly heartwarming and inspirational."

Harring said some members donated the same number of pounds of food, as their corresponding weight recorded at their previous weigh-in. Others, she added, made donations regardless of how much weight they lost in a given week.

"The end result shows the generosity in people's hearts during these tough times," added Harring.

Weight Watchers' Stockbridge location, at 3556 Ga. Highway 138, has also participated in the campaign. Susan Triggs, lead volunteer for the center, said Lose For Good has been a "great success" this year.

Triggs said approximately 800 pounds of food had been collected at the Stockbridge facility, since the beginning of the 2009 campaign.

"That doesn't include this last week, because I'm only [at the center] on Tuesdays," she said. "I'm hoping we can reach the 1,000-pound mark."

Harring said donations collected by all of Weigh Watchers' McDonough locations will be taken to McDonough Christian Church, at 2000 Jonesboro Road, on Thursday to be loaded into a single truck. She said Weight Watchers members are invited to come to the church that day, to assist in packing the truck. The food will then be taken to the food pantry.