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Local family makes volunteering at “Cans” a holiday tradition

To the Flood family, volunteering at The Salvation Army and Wehrenberg Theatre’s annual “Cans Film Festival” is a family affair. ”It’s a part of our holiday season,” said Jan Flood. “We do it every year and we always look forward to it. If they ever quit doing this event, we don’t know what we’d do the first week in December.”

Jan and her husband, Mike, along with their three children — Nicki, Courtney, and Dan — have volunteered with “Cans” for more than 10 years.

Mike, an area manager for UPS, introduced the family to the event when UPS first became involved.

“We convinced the kids to go when they were little just so they could watch Disney movies at the theater; at first they weren’t volunteers,” Jan said. “But as they got older, they wanted to get involved. And we haven’t looked back since.”

The Flood children are so dedicated to the event now, Nicki, now 19-years-old, took a train from Kansas City the night before the event just so she could volunteer.

“I usually don’t come home on the weekends, but I wouldn’t miss this,” she said. “It’s a family tradition now, and it’s something we all look forward to every year.”

Jan agreed.

“We’ve developed a camaraderie with the other volunteers and employees and have so much fun with it. The people here at Wehrenberg are always so nice and take great care of us,” she said. “I couldn’t imagine not being a part of this.”

Throughout the years, the Flood family said they have several fond memories made while volunteering at “Cans.”

“Before everything went digital, we got to take a tour of the projection room one year,” Jan said. “And one year while we were waiting for the UPS truck to arrive, some of the boys made a castle out of the boxes; that was pretty entertaining.”

Mike said he remembers making deliveries to The Salvation Army back in 1978 and seeing the need for events like “Cans.”

“There are so many people who are in need,” he said. “And from actually seeing the people in person who benefit from what we do here at Cans, it makes it even more enjoyable and worthwhile.”

The Flood family, as well as the hundreds of other volunteers who took part in the event Dec. 1, were able to collect and process 330,000 canned goods by5 p.m. when the event concluded.

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