Westerville residents will be able to donate to those in need without leaving the comfort of their homes.
The Rotary Club of Westerville will have its eighth annual food drive for the Westerville Area Resource Ministry (WARM), with bags being distributed Saturday, Dec. 1, for pickup on Dec. 8.
"On Dec. 1, volunteers from Rotary, Otterbein (University) and WARM will be distributing paper bags donated from Kroger, and those will have information and an envelope for a monetary donation if people wish stapled to it," said WARM project coordinator Deb Wallace. "Exactly a week later, on Dec. 8, from 9 in the morning until about 11, those bags will be retrieved by Rotarians and Otterbein students."
The Rotary Club is asking residents who receive the bags -- they'll be placed on about 6,000 doorsteps throughout the city -- to fill them with nonperishable food for WARM's food pantry.
Residents who don't receive bags can take donations to one of Westerville's two Kroger stores, 7345 N. State St. or 55 W. Schrock Road, on Dec. 8. WARM willl have a vehicle and volunteers on hand at each store that morning to collect donations, Wallace said.
While WARM is open to donations of all types of foods, the most needed items are canned fruit, canned meat, pasta, hot or cold cereal, and peanut butter, Wallace said. Nutritious foods also are encouraged, she said.
"We're trying to emphasize healthy choices for our clients. We try to encourage donors to think about the health and nutrition of what they're donating," she said.
Last year's food drive brought in 12 tons of food, just less than the 13 tons of food the pantry provides to patrons in a month, Wallace said.
WARM also is soliciting donors for its annual Christmas sponsorship program.
Under the program, donors are matched with a family or an individual for whom they will buy Christmas gifts.
The recipients provide lists of items they would like to receive, and donors are asked to spend about $100 per person.
For donors who would like to give less than $100, WARM often can pool multiple donors to support one family or person, Wallace said.
Wallace said WARM has seen increased demand this year and expects demand to continue to rise next year.
"It's going to be a particularly needful time in the coming year, and that's irrespective of what the winter's like," Wallace said. "We're so appreciative of how the community helps us this holiday season. It's really great, and without it, we would not be able to help our clients as we do."
Those who are interested in participating in the Christmas sponsorship program can call WARM's office at 614-899-0196.
In addition to participating in the Dec. 8 food drive, those interested also can leave food in the drop boxes at WARM, 175 E. Broadway Ave., at any time.