WILKES-BARRE — Sometimes you’ve got to give a little to get a little.
Or in this case, waste some food to collect a whole lot more.
Staff from United Way of Wyoming Valley and employees from Trion Industries slung a few pies Wednesday in the Trion plant’s cafeteria in support of the annual Christmas in July Food Drive Competition.
Among the pied faces was United Way CEO Bill Jones.
“I have to be on TV at 4 o’clock,” he protested.
But following a $300 bid from Trion president and CEO John Thalenfeld, Jones acquiesced and took his place where three Trion employees had gone before him.
The weirdest part, Jones said, was getting banana cream pie stuck in his nose.
Jones said that was his first pie to the face, but Thalenfeld, who was hit with a $260 chocolate pie, said the experience is a familiar one for him. And also one he would relive again and again in similar gatherings during the second and third shifts later that day.
Thalenfeld started to say that the less crowded night shifts were unlikely to raise as much money, but he was interrupted when an employee issued a challenging grunt.
Leading up to the event, Trion employees voted with their wallets to pick which of their co-workers would get hit with pies. Director of Human Resources Nancy Pearson topped the list.
She took the nomination — and the first pie — like a champ, and said she jumped at the chance for Trion employees to see her outside of her typical business-centric attire.
“I needed to wear something out of character,” Pearson said.
And she accomplished her goal, surprising the nearly 200 gathered employees when she entered the cafeteria donning a black petticoat over bright, patterned running pants.
Trion estimates Wednesday’s event raised more than $1,000 for the food drive.
The Christmas in July Food Drive Competition collected more than 77,000 pounds of food in 2013, including more than 6,500 pounds from Trion, which placed third in the overall weight and weight per employee categories.
Jones said its too early to tell what 2014’s numbers might be, but he said participation is up from last year with even more organizations involved.
United Way of Wyoming Valley said it holds the drive to help keep food banks stocked during the slow summer donation season. All food collected is donated to the Commission on Economic Opportunity, which then distributes items to local food pantries.
Thirty four businesses have joined this year’s event so far, and United Way of Wyoming Valley said more businesses and organizations are welcome to join.