A consortium of local community and business groups this week is soliciting donations of non-perishable food and cash to help stock the PCMA of Pickerington Food Pantry.

A consortium of local community and business groups this week is soliciting donations of non-perishable food and cash to help stock the PCMA of Pickerington Food Pantry.

Last Monday, the United Way of Fairfield County organized a number of "Pack the Pantry" events throughout the county to help generate donations of food and money for people struggling to put food on the table.

Taking a cue from that event, the city of Pickerington, Violet Township, the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, the Pickerington Public Library, the Pickerington Senior Center, the Pickerington Community Pool and UNO Chicago Grill partnered for a week-long drive to further bolster the "Pack the Pantry" drive.

From June 20-24, those groups are collecting non-perishable food donations, as well as financial contributions, at their respective offices and businesses. The Pickerington Police Department, 1311 Refugee Road, also is a drop-off point.

All donations collected through the end of business tomorrow (June 24) will go to support the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington.

"Local leaders recognize the need to go even further to help area families during these tough times," said city manager Bill Vance. "Now we have a chance to tie in with the United Way organization in an effort to distribute donations right here in Pickerington.

"One-hundred percent of what is collected stays here in our community."

The local event kicked off on Monday with a breakfast at the Carnegie Library Plaza in Olde Pickerington Village. Donated baked goods were available for sale to visitors, and Pickerington city officials said approximately 25 people came to the event, which generated $95.

As of ThisWeek's press time, volunteers were slated to collect donations at the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington on Tuesday, and the Pickerington Police Department, Pickerington City Hall, Pickerington Community Pool, the Pickerington Area Chamber of Commerce, Violet Township Hall, the Pickerington Senior Center and the Pickerington Public Library were collecting donations at each of their facilities on Wednesday.

Today (Thursday, June 23), those entities are continuing to serve as collection points for donations. While donations of any type of non-perishable foods and cash are needed, the drive is specifically seeking donations of canned pineapple and baked beans.

Also today, UNO Chicago Grill, 1720 Hill Road North, will provide free appetizers from 5 to 6 p.m. tonight. Additionally, the restaurant will allow patrons who bring in "Dough Raiser" coupons printed from the city of Pickerington's website, www.pickerington.net, to donate up to 20 percent of their bills to the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington.

"When our community got a hold of the notion, we all sat down and said, 'We want to do more,' with the idea that all of this money stays in Pickerington," said Lynn Miller, the city's human resources director. "We do have a food pantry in Pickerington, and it needs help."

Tomorrow (Friday, June 24), the local "Pack the Pantry" effort will conclude. Collection drop-off points will be maintained at each of the aforementioned locations through 5 p.m.

While all types of non-perishable food and cash donations will be accepted, the groups hope to solicit pancake mix and syrup contributions.

Additional information about "Pack the Pantry" and donating to the PCMA Food Pantry can be found on the city of Pickerington's website.