Tuesday, March 26, 2013

United Way distributes 700 hams to local food pantries

As part of the 2013 Feed Lake County Campaign, United Way of Lake County distributed 704 hams Tuesday morning to 48 food pantries across the county. The hams will then be distributed to families in need in time for Easter.

Local food pantries continue to see an increase in clients who are in need of food as 2-1-1 reported more than 4,200 requests for food in 2012, which was up from 3,600 calls in 2011. So far in 2013, there have been 865 calls for food, which is up from 516 calls between January and March of 2012.

"We get calls from people who do not ordinarily go to the food pantry every month but for a special event they desperately need some additional help," said Joanne Ramsey from the Willoughby United Methodist Church. "Tomorrow is our last giveaway and these hams will just be absolutely perfect."

Last year the 2012 Feed Lake County Campaign raised about 45,000 pounds of food and more than $60,000 cash donations. However, the 2013 campaign is down so United Way of Lake County is encouraging individuals and businesses to donate food and money to the Feed Lake County Campaign to help feed those in need.

Feed Lake County is used throughout the year to make purchases for the food pantries in March, September, November and December. This year's Feed Lake County will continue through the second week of April.

The hams were purchased at and delivered by Giant Eagle to United Way of Lake County's Mentor office. From there, volunteers from Lake House Men's Residential distributed the hams to the food pantries as they came to pick them up.

"The Madison Food Center is appreciative of United Way and all that they do to help fill our shelves for the hungry in our community," said Chris Van Dusen of the Madison Food Center. "Food is such a basic necessity and people can make such a difference by donating to Feed Lake County."

"We are meeting new families each month and also finding that the food stamps allotments are not keeping up with the increase of food prices," Van Dusen continued. "We have seen a recent increase in the number of seniors needing the services of our pantry."

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