By Jennifer Grimes

Triplicate staff writer

An exchange of insults, slights and goading between Del Norte Countys biggest government agencies raged on again this year in a war over food.

But all in good fun and for a good cause, said Carol McCall of Redwood National and State Parks.

Its a rivalry over which agency can gather the most pounds of food donations for families in need of a good dinner for the holidays.

And each year, the total amount gathered gets bigger.

More than 3,200 pounds of turkeys, potatoes, green beans, canned yams, stuffing mix, fruits, juice and other holiday meal favorites were stockpiled at Rural Human Services last week. Thats nearly double the amount gathered last year.

On Friday morning Crescent City, Del Norte County, Redwood Parks and Smith River National Recreation Area met for the weigh-in.

Dave Wells of Crescent City came with nothing to show but a receipt from a local grocery store and said the citys contribution was stuck in a truck in the snow. Shady! said McCall, tongue in cheek.

The city donated 1,000 pounds of potatoes.

Del Norte County came up with 591 pounds of donations. Redwood National and State Parks Superintendent Rick Sermon said the county brought in a bunch of light stuff. Not a good strategy in a competition of who can gather the most pounds.

When youre doing a weigh-in its not good to put a box of corn flakes on there, kidded Sermon.

But both heavy and light items were needed to make complete holiday baskets.

Collectively, the parks gathered 1,659 pounds.

With all the food brought in Friday, about 250 families who cant afford a holiday dinner will have full bellies.

Thats our goal, but we still need about 100 more turkeys. We received about 150 new applicants for the baskets this year, said Darcy Wilson, of RHS who helps put the program together.

More donations of canned pie filling, baking mixes and juices are still needed.

But no potatoes! McCall said, mocking Crescent Citys donation.

Sermon said he hopes the competition gets hotter and hotter each year so that more families in need will benefit.