GENOA - "Voting early and often" is often thought of as Chicago folklore, but a campaign in Genoa is taking that tradition one step further to collect food for the needy.
Area residents can vote for their favorite school's Christmas tree by depositing a food item under that tree on display at a local store.
Decoration Multiplication, a holiday food drive hosted by Samsen Furniture, 22225 Woodville Rd., will award $500 to the school whose tree has the most votes. The prize will be presented at the winning school's Christmas assembly.
Participating this year are Eastwood Middle School in Pemberville, Toledo Public Schools' Ottawa River elementary (last year's winner), Toledo's Edgewater elementary, RC Waters elementary in Oak Harbor, Toledo's East Broadway Middle School, Rocky Ridge Elementary, Allen Central Elementary in Genoa, Brunner Elementary in Genoa, Jerusalem Elementary in Oregon, and Lake Elementary.
Each donated item counts as a "vote" for that school's tree, and stuffing the "ballot box" is allowed and encouraged. Especially welcomed are donations of cereal, peanut butter, and laundry soap, which count as five points each.
Guests may also participate in a silent auction for the seven-foot, decorated trees, which will be made available for pick-up after Dec. 10. Money collected from the tree sale will be donated to charity.
Lynn McGath, a design consultant, said food is also collected at the schools, which counts toward the contest's winner.
Each school designates the charity to which it wants the food donated.