RIVER FALLS -- The 29th River Falls Food Pantry drive will be 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Dec. 2-3 at Veterans Park. A new group of "Grumpy Old Men" are continuing the legacy started by Jerry Carter and later joined by Mel Germanson.
For 27 years Carter and Germanson were the self-proclaimed "Grumpy Old Men," standing in the cold at Veterans Park downtown collecting for the River Falls Food Pantry.
Several years ago, Rick Bowen, retired University of Wisconsin-River Falls basketball coach and athletic director, and Craig Miles, Carter's nephew and retired Unity football coach, began helping with the idea they would eventually take over and keep the food drive going.
When Carter and Germanson retired, Bowen and Miles recruited help from a group of retired local teachers, coaches and others pledged to keep the food drive going. This group meets at the Caribou Coffee in River Falls almost daily.
"Last year was our first attempt at doing this. We were worried that cars going by Veterans Park would not stop because Jerry and Mel were not present. As per usual the community responded making our first year a success. We raised a record $11,000 in cash and seven pick-up loads of food," they said in a news release.
Look for the volunteer group the Monday and Tuesday after Thanksgiving Days in Veterans Park. Non-perishable food items and cash donations are accepted.
"Over the years Jerry and Mel raised over $200,000 and countless pickup truck loads of food for the pantry. We can never match this legacy, but we are going to give it every effort to keep this worthy project going in honor of Jerry and Mel, the original grumpy old men," Bowen and Miles said.