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      Kids kick start TV6 Canathon

      It's an annual tradition 30 years in the making. This year, TV6 celebrates 30 years of helping to collect non-perishable food items for those in need in Upper Michigan. The United Steelworkers from the Tilden and Empire mines unofficially kicked off the 2012 Canathon Friday by picking up the first of the cans.

      "I volunteered to do this today to give back to our community, people that are in need. I work at the mine. I do okay. Some people out there need help," said Tricia Anderson with the Local 4974 Steelworkers from the Tilden Mine.

      Lakeview Elementary School in Negaunee is one of four elementary and middle schools that started collecting donations this week.

      "It's fun and it's good to help other people," said Lakeview first grader Maddie Tourney.

      "It's great helping people that need it, and we try and get the most cans to help them," said Lakeview fifth grader Ashley Oleksy.

      Each class competes to see who can raise the most non-perishable goods. The winner gets a pizza party at the end. The volunteer steelworkers brought in cans from every corner of the school. Some classes donated hundreds of pounds of food. When all was said and done, Lakeview donated a total of 3,048 pounds. The single class that raised the most was Mrs. Whitford's kindergarten class with 458.2 pounds.

      "It makes me proud to live in this community with all these cans we collected here today. I've been doing it for a couple years now and I think this year is probably the best year that I've seen," Anderson said.

      The four schools together donated 11,268 pounds of food. Aspen Ridge School donated 3,750 pounds, Negaunee Middle School donated 3,600 pounds, and Birchview Elementary donated 870 pounds.

      Lakeview's and Negaunee's food will be donated to the Salvation Army in Ishpeming, and Birchview's and Aspen Ridge's food will be donated to Saint Vincent de Paul in Negaunee and Ishpeming.

      The 2012 TV6 Canathon kicks off officially on Monday and ends with a one hour live show on December 6. To learn how you can get involved, click here.