The Johnstown-Monroe and Northridge school communities can help feed families in need by contributing to the annual food drive sponsored by the Johnstown Chapter 4324 Knights of Columbus.

The Johnstown-Monroe and Northridge school communities can help feed families in need by contributing to the annual food drive sponsored by the Johnstown Chapter 4324 Knights of Columbus.

Boxes to collect donations will be placed in every school building in the Johnstown and Northridge school districts during the week of Oct. 5.

"The number of families we've been helping has almost doubled from last year," said Ruth Krumm, director of the Johnstown and Northridge Food Pantry. "This month we have helped 42 families and we have another week to go."

While the fall food drive usually stocks the pantry for the year, an increased need for assistance has forced the pantry to dip into its treasury. Churches, individuals and groups have also stepped up to provide additional support.

"We had four young Boy Scouts that had food drives this summer for our pantry," Krumm said. "A couple of them did it to get badges. They brought in a lot of food. If it weren't for them, we would have had to buy a lot more. I think it's great those kids would think about doing that."

The Boy Scouts who collected food in the late spring and summer for the pantry were Michael Prauntvein, Jared Wegrzyn, Matthew Murdock and Andy Foor.

"We've been getting so many families needing help that we've had to buy a lot of food lately out of our funds," Krumm said. "When we do have to buy a lot, the good lord seems to send us a check. We had a couple of months with over 70 families. It isn't getting any better."

Krumm said the pantry needs all kinds of food for the holidays.

"We're really low on canned fruit and any kind of vegetables we can also use," she said. "Surprisingly enough, I thought we'd never run out of ramen noodles, but we only have two singles left."

The annual fall food drive includes a high school rivalry to see who collects the most food. Johnstown-Monroe High School broke a two-year losing streak last year by collecting more food than Northridge, but the overall collection was down by well over half half from 2007.

The total number of items donated to the pantry was 14,379 from last year's food collection, down from 41,826 items in 2007.

In the high school competition, J-M collected 5,238 items compared to Northridge High School's 756 in donations.

Other Johnstown Local School District donations included: Adams Middle School, 857; Oregon, 1,958; and Searfoss, 1,431.

A breakdown of Northridge contributions were Northridge Middle, 1,653; Northridge Intermediate School, 1,036; and Alexandria, 1,450 donations.

The Johnstown Chapter 4324 Knights of Columbus provides a pizza party for the elementary classes that collect the most items.