Last month 10 Dublin elementary schools collected food that will stay in the community.

Last month 10 Dublin elementary schools collected food that will stay in the community.

The collection organized by the Dublin Support Association snagged more than 2,500 food items for the Dublin Food Pantry that will go to families in the school district.

The Nov. 12-15 food drive was the second for the Dublin Support Association and yielded a larger collection than the inaugural year.

"We did something similar last year with the help of St. Stephens Community House," said DSA president Howard French. "This year we wanted to keep it in Dublin."

French contacted Dublin Food Pantry director Nancy Johnson.

"We are planning to return the food to the needy kids in the schools," Johnson said. "The food pantry will be getting referrals from teachers of the most needy students and we will figure out a way to get (the food) back to them."

Students from the 10 elementary schools involved brought in food and bus drivers collected it after their shifts.

"The schools promoted it, kids brought things in and staff collected it," French said. "The bus drivers picked it up, counted it and sorted it and delivered it to Nancy last week."

Once the food pantry gets referrals from teachers, they'll package the food for the families along with some meat, pies and rolls, Johnson said."We'll make an effort to see what the families want," she said.

The effort to keep the food within the school district by getting referrals from teachers could bring new families to the food pantry. If they're eligible for the food pantry's help, Johnson said this could bring in new families that need help.

"The teachers work more closely with them," she said. "They know who's in need."

The collection also let students help on another.

"It's neat to have school kids giving to other school kids," Johnson said.

The November collection also took toys for the Firefighters For Kids effort. French said the DSA worked with Washington Township on the toy collection and delivered more than 370.

Three of the 10 elementary schools that participated in the food and toy drive will get 100 new books for the school library for collecting the most items. This year's winners are Riverside, Deer Run and Glacier Ridge elementary schools.

The DSA, which represents 650 classified employees in the Dublin City School District, plans to hold the collection again next year, French said.

"We initially started it last year feeling our way through," he said. "We'll try to continue it every year."

The donations to the Dublin Food Pantry were appreciated, Johnson said, noting that need continues to increase despite the declining unemployment rate.

"It's the working poor," she said. "Demand is still up. We're also seeing more elderly who are running out of money."