Tuna: inexpensive, a good source of protein, easy to donate, easy to pick up and easy to distribute.

That’s how Good Samaritan Ministries Executive Director Leesa Stephens described the scombroid fish as GSM prepares for the canned tuna drive that will be part of next month’s National Night Out.

“Since part of our mission is neighbors helping neighbors, it’s a great time for us to piggyback on what is already happening and ask the different neighborhoods to collect cans of tuna,” Stephens said.

“There’s a little bit of a challenge there. We have a traveling tuna trophy that goes to the neighborhood that collects the most tuna. If your neighborhood’s not having a party, you can still contribute to the tuna drive. Some of the grocery stores make it real easy. They have boxes at the register and cans of tuna at the register. Throw in a few extra cans in your shopping cart.”

Last year, about 3,300 cans were collected as part of National Night Out, Stephens said. The highest total ever collected was nearly 4,000 cans, she said.

“Why tuna?” Stephens said. “Tuna is an excellent source of protein. It is fairly inexpensive. we are always looking for quality protein to put in our foot pantry. When people begin to cut corners on their grocery bill, it’s usually protein because that is usually the most expensive part of a typical shopping basket.”

The cans of tuna collected will last a couple of months in GSM’s food pantry, and can be used in the homeless boxes.

“It’s just an all-around good thing,” Stephens said.