Thursday, December 15, 2011

United Way distributes $23,600 worth of food

As part of the 2011 Feed Lake County Campaign, United Way of Lake County distributed about $23,600 worth of food Wednesday to 52 food pantries and residential facilities across the county.
Overall, the 2011 Feed Lake County Campaign raised approximately 45,500 pounds of food and $60,000 in cash. Cash donations to Feed Lake County were used throughout the year to make purchases for the food pantries in September, November and this week.
On Tuesday, Giant Eagle dropped off about $20,000 worth of peanut butter, jelly, spaghetti sauce, spaghetti noodles, tuna, tuna helper, fruit cocktail and fruit juice to United Way of Lake County’s Mentor office. An additional $3,600 worth of food was donated Wednesday morning by the Mentor Fire Department.

Volunteers from Teen Challenge and Lake House Men’s Residential distributed the items to the food pantries as they came to pick them up.
The majority of the food donations were distributed to food pantries in April as part of United Way of Lake County’s Second Annual Food Parade and Celebration.
The food pantries continue to see an increase in numbers. Last year, more than 6,000 people used the food pantry system and between 700 and 1,100 residents needed help on a weekly basis. These food pantries report they are seeing 10 to 20 new visitors each week. Many first time social service clients are 40 to 50 years old, have lost their jobs, exhausted their benefits and are looking desperately for somewhere to turn.
Frances Teresczuk, president of the Our Lady of Mt. Carmel - Saint Vincent de Paul Society Food Pantry in Wickliffe, said her food pantry served 105 families in November.
“This donation is very important to us,” said Teresczuk. “With what we receive from United Way and our parishioners, it helps us out tremendously, and I don’t think we’d survive without it.”
Albert Jones, Deacon of St. Johns Baptist Church in Painesville, said his food pantry has also seen an increase of people in need of food.
“We are seeing people who would have never expected to have come here,” he said. “We’re blessed that we are able to supply them with food thanks to United Way.”
United Way of Lake County always accepts food or cash donations, which can be sent to 9285 Progress Parkway, Mentor, OH 44060. Those in need of food can call 2-1-1 to be referred to a local food pantry.

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