The fourth annual Pack the Pantry event will expand this year in hopes of helping food pantries in Pickerington, Canal Winchester and Groveport.
The PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington has not participated in Pack the Pantry for several years but is back this year, hoping to overcome the summer challenge of lower donations and higher demand by restocking its shelves with help from area firefighters and residents.
Once again, the Madison Township Fire Department, joined by the Violet Township Fire Department, will set up drive-through stations where residents can donate food and household items.
Firefighters and volunteers will collect donations from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, June 21.
Donations made at Madison Township Fire Station 182, 6600 Gender Road, will go to the Canal Winchester Community Food Pantry. Those made at Fire Station 181, 4567 Firehouse Lane (just off Hamilton Road) will go to the Groveport Food Pantry. Donations dropped off at the Violet Township Fire Station at 2365 Taylor Square Drive will go to the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington.
"Summer is a very challenging time of year for food pantries," Canal Winchester Human Services Administrator Penny Miller said. "Students who normally participate in the free breakfast and free lunch programs at their schools are missing those meals, which puts additional strain on families that struggle to keep food on the table.
"The demand for use of food pantries is usually higher in the summer months, yet donations are typically at their lowest," she said.
According to statistics from the Community Food Pantry, it distributes more than 2,000 food items weekly in support of 65 families as part of its choice pantry program. The pantry currently serves more than 1,300 clients annually, a number that has grown over the past few years, according to Miller.
The Groveport Center for Human Needs, which administers the food pantry in that city, currently has a wait list for some clients because of greater demands and lower donations.
In previous Pack the Pantry events, the goal was to collect at least 2,000 items for each participating food pantry.
For more information or to make a direct donation, email Miller at the Canal Winchester Community Food Pantry at email@example.com; email Christine Boucher at the Groveport Food Pantry at firstname.lastname@example.org; or email Gessica Peraza at the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington at email@example.com.