ATLANTIC – It was something that Eleanor Hoover or “Big E,” as people called her, wanted.
She told one of her daughters, Jackie Sampson, that she hoped they would one day be candidates in the Scrooge Contest. The contest has candidates collecting non-perishable food items or monetary donations for the Atlantic Food Pantry. Candidates receive points for food items or cash donations, and the candidate that receives the most points is named “Scrooge.” The winner serves as the Grand Marshall for Lighted Christmas Parade, and candidates have until Nov. 29 at noon to collect their items and funds and submit their points for the contest.
The idea of naming someone a “Scrooge,” comes from the story “A Christmas Carol,” in which the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, finds the true meaning of Christmas.
Hoover had organized the contest, but passed away earlier this year. Officials with the food pantry asked her daughters, including Jackie Sampson, Billie Hoover and Lori Christianson, and also Karen Miller, who Sampson said considered ‘Eleanor as a second mother,’ if they would be interested in organizing the contest in 2019. Her daughters and Miller agreed to organize it this year.
Beyond that, Sampson remembered a conversation she had with Hoover.
“She had said something to me two or three years ago, when she was ready to pass the handle (of the contest) to somebody else and take this off her plate, (she said) ‘My wish is that you three would be my final candidates.’”
Since they were all competitive and didn’t want to cause any family tension, they decided to compete as team, naming it “Team Hoover.”
The three will have donation boxes at the Nishna Valley Family YMCA, Atlantic Fareway, Browns Shoe Fit, Duke Aerial (the 1504 SW Seventh Street location), Midwest Dental, Atlantic Hy-Vee and the Atlantic High School. People can also call 250-0025 to have a donation picked up or donations can be mailed to 1202 East 12th Street, Atlantic, Iowa 50022.
Officials at Fareway will also offer a quilt raffle, made by Gail Morris and finished by Christianson, along with a Fareway Gift Card. Proceeds from the sale of that raffle will go to Team Hoover. Officials at Hy-Vee will be doing a Round Up Day event in November, similar to the Salute To Veterans event, and proceeds from that will also go to Team Hoover. Officials at the YMCA will be offering a new membership deal-anyone who brings in 10 non-perishable items between Nov. 10 and 17 can join the YMCA, and the $40 joiners fee will be waived. Those items will be go into Team Hoover box at the YMCA. The team is also doing a 123 campaign, in which they ask people to donate $123 in honor of Hoover’s birthday, which was Dec. 3 or 12/3.
The sisters say part of their motivation to win the competition is to “put Big E back on the float,” which is a reference to being the grand marshal who rides on the float during the Lighted Christmas Parade. Hoover won the competition back in 2002, and they would like to represent her on the float again this year.
To people who they will ask to make donations, they said, “Big E is still reaching out — Don’t say no,” and to other candidates, specifically Mike Magers, who said the team needed to bring “their A game,” in the competition, they say, “Bring It!”