The Rotary Club of Canal Winchester will sponsor a community food drive to benefit the Canal Winchester Food Pantry from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Stradley Park, 36 S. High St.

The Rotary Club of Canal Winchester will sponsor a community food drive to benefit the Canal Winchester Food Pantry from 6 to 8 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 29, at Stradley Park, 36 S. High St.

Club treasurer Lisa Poole said the Rotary held a rose sale in the spring, using proceeds to provide the pantry with a monetary donation. As the demand for food pantry services continued to increase, the club wanted to give community members a chance to help out.

Local band Malt Shop Appropriate will provide live entertainment, performing a mix of blues, country, rock, folk and doo-wop fusion.

Rotary volunteers will be on hand to collect donated food items and monetary contributions. Checks can be made out to the Canal Winchester Food Pantry.

Canned vegetables, canned meats and fish, dry and evaporated milk, all types of pasta, boxed complete meals and peanut butter are all desperately needed, she said.

Poole hopes that community members will stop by for a few minutes to drop off donations and enjoy the music.

"Since it's the very first drive, we're not entirely sure what to expect," Poole said. "It's about getting the word out. I have no doubt if people know we are there, they'll come and they'll give. This community is great for that."

The Rotary Club hopes to make the food drive an annual event, and may have more bands perform as the food drive grows.

At the conclusion of the drive, volunteers will immediately deliver the donations to the pantry, which is located at David's United Church of Christ, 80 W. Columbus St.

"We want to get the donations to the pantry as soon as possible," Poole said.

Collected items will help the pantry serve the entire 43110 ZIP code, as well as Lithoplis, where there is no food pantry.

The pantry provided 3,051 meals last month, serving 2,331 more meals than in July 2008, according to coordinator Janet Richardson.

"It was the second-highest month in 30 years of operation," she said.

Demand for meals was highest in December 2008, but Richardson said it has remained "way high" throughout 2009.

Families of a variety of sizes use the pantry to receive enough food for three meals up to twice a month. Distribution is based on USDA guidelines.

"Because we have a generous community, we are also able to provide a voucher program," Richardson said. "We give families a voucher to take to Kroger to buy food."

The pantry recently took on a benefit bank counselor who starts the paperwork process for people who may need access to the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services.

Donations of toiletries, such as toothpaste and bar soap, are also always needed and accepted, Richardson said.

She said it's hard to gauge demand in the middle of the month, but the pantry has continued to see an increase in first-time visitors throughout August.

"We're keeping up with two to seven new people every week," Richardson said. "Donations from the Rotary's food drive are really needed and appreciated."

Poole said anyone interested in joining the Rotary Club should call president Brad Tharp at (614) 834-9600.

"We welcome folks that are invested in Canal Winchester and interested in service to the community," she said.