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Haunted house, carnival seek to 'Scare Away Hunger'

By: Penne Usher, Telegraph Correspondent
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CAMERON PARK, CA - Delfina Court in Cameron Park was quiet Thursday, but come Halloween weekend it will be transformed into a haunted house complete with carnival games and food vendors.

The entire production is the “Scare Away Hunger” fundraiser that benefits the El Dorado County Food Bank.

Last year this group raised more than $3,500 in monetary donations and more than 3,000 pounds of nonperishable foods for the Food Bank. This year, they are looking to make it even more successful.

The Scare Away Hunger crew is back, bigger than ever with the Scare Away Hunger Carnival and Haunted House to benefit El Dorado County’s most at risk children, seniors and families with emergency food assistance.

“The reason (we) choose to donate to the Food Bank of El Dorado County is because the number of people using food banks and food closests has increased tremendously in this recession,” said Kelly Meinz, who founded Scare Away Hunger with his brother Kevin. “We are thankful to our parents for being well taken care of, but we cannot ignore the fact that that are those (who) need our help and we want to pay this service forward to those who need the help.”

Daniel Howard, 21, and Kelly Meinz, 22, were on hand last week to explain what goes into a production of this magnitude.

“We are going to have booths out front with food and games,” Howard said.

Kelly Meinz said it’s really all about helping people – sort of.

“We are passionate about helping others,” Kelly Meinz said. “And combining helping others with scaring the crap out of people ... well how great is that?”

Tour guides will escort visitors through the labyrinth of darkened narrow passages. They will enter the haunted house through the mouth of a giant clown. From there they will be greeted with several “scares” until they ultimately make their way out to safety.

Meinz and his crew of volunteers start planning the annual event in June and start building in mid-September. More than 50 volunteers will be on hand each night of the three-night event.

“The Scare Away Hunger Crew has proven their dedication to El Dorado County’s at risk population. For years they have put together this community event and the proceeds have gone to the Food Bank of El Dorado County,” said Mike Sproull, founder of the Food Bank. “The Food Bank is proud to partner with youth who truly care about their community. We all look forward to seeing everyone at this year’s haunted house and carnival. Together we can make a difference in the lives of many in communities throughout El Dorado County.”

The house is open to the public Oct. 27-28 and Oct. 31. The event is free, however, cash donations or canned goods are accepted.

The annual event is made possible through the donation of supplies and building materials from various community businesses.