BROWNWOOD, Texas — You can make anything out of tuna. Sandwiches, soup and even patties, but in small town of Brownwood, the number one thing tuna can do make is a difference.
Brownwood is hosting its Tuna Challenge, a friendly competition between neighborhoods in the community.
Whoever donates the most cans of tuna will be given the Tuna Trophy for the year. A reward Good Samaritan Ministries Executive Director Leesa Stephens calls the "Heisman of Tuna Trophies."
"The tuna challenge is a friendly competition to see who could collect the most and to help their friends and neighbors here in Brown County who struggle with food insecurity and hunger," Stephens said.
Stephens and her team have been doing this event for more than five years, but this time is different because they are doing it without National Night Out because of COVID-19.
The National Night Out is when local law enforcement and community leaders drive around and get to meet the community and they would help pick up tuna.
Even though there is a pause on the National Night Out the competition of the tuna challenge is still on, and the reward is more fulfilling than a trophy.
Every year, Stephens and her team will receive more than 4,000 cans of tuna, and now all the communities must do is drop off their tuna at the Brownwood Chamber of Commerce.
The tuna goes to the Good Samaritan Ministries food pantry to help people in need of food, and because of COVID-19 the need for food in Brownwood is an all-time high.
"We have seen an increase in first time families, typically that first time family when they've come to our food pantry, almost a little bit embarrassed," Stephens said. "We've heard so many times I've never needed this before I've never really thought I would come to a food pantry before."
What makes the Tuna Challenge unique for a small town such as Brownwood is everyone gets involved.
It is the type of teamwork Brownwood Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Sunni Modawell loves to see.
"It always makes me proud when our community comes together to support local nonprofits like Good Samaritan Ministries, that takes care of those who are in a position of need, just a little extra help," Modawell said.
The Tuna Challenge will continue all the way through Sept. 30, and Stephens encourages everyone to take part in some friendly competition.