Two competing teams from Zion Lutheran Church in Manning prepare to zoom off from the starting line during a Pack the Pantry event Oct. 24 in Manning, during which teams attempted to collect items totaling as close to $250 as possible to benefit the Manning Food Pantry.
Two competing teams from Zion Lutheran Church in Manning prepare to zoom off from the starting line during a Pack the Pantry event Oct. 24 in Manning, during which teams attempted to collect items totaling as close to $250 as possible to benefit the Manning Food Pantry.

As the starting flag dropped, two opposing teams barreled through Manning’s grocery store with single-minded purpose.

Their mission: Gather items for the Manning Food Pantry with a final tally as close to $250 as possible.

The competition, hosted by the Manning Rotary Club, was held Oct. 24 at West Street Market in Manning.

Sixteen teams of three people competed; each was given five minutes to shop, as referees kept watch. Members were required to track down items from various categories that the food pantry regularly needs. The team whose cart total was closest to $250 without exceeding that amount won. Team members were not permitted to use phones or calculators.

The Ohde Funeral Home team members blew their competitors out of the water with an almost-perfect score of $249.95.

Hook ’em Horns, a last-minute team assembled by Ron Reischl, “won” in a different way, with the priciest cart — ringing in at $408.18.

Other participating organizations included the Manning Regional Healthcare Center, First National Bank, Gray United Methodist Church, two teams from Zion Lutheran Church in Manning, West Street Market, The Market Place, Carroll Area Nursing Service, the Manning Pharmacy, Templeton Savings Bank, Knights of Columbus, Lambda Eta, Twin Transfer Inc. and the Muhlbauer family.

Five of the participating teams were nonprofit organizations that raised money or applied for grants to help pay for their $250 entry fees. One team was a mom and her three young kids, and one was hurriedly formed at the last minute from people who happened to be at the store.

The 16 teams purchased 1,103 items for the food pantry, including 38 pounds of beef, and spent about $4,000.

C-3, the Manning-area organization representing Christ, Community and Celebration, created the food pantry along with New Opportunities three years ago. It served 184 households and 324 individuals in 2016, and 118 households and 277 individuals from January to August of this year, according to a news release.

The pantry shelves and freezer were looking pretty bare, so the timing of this incredible food drive could not have been better,” said Mindi Boyle, C-3 committee member, in the release. “The amount of food brought in surpassed anything we could have imagined. We are truly blessed to live in such a caring and giving community.”