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United Way Wants To Fill Bus With Food Donations To Feed Lake County

The United Way of Lake County's annual food drive ends this Saturday and more help is still needed

The United Way of Lake County's Feed Lake County usually raises about 50,000 pounds of food and $50,000 in donations each campaign.

However, this year, donations are down as the need continues to rise.

Consequently, the United Way is holding a final food drive from 8 a.m. to noon this Saturday.

Laketran is parking an empty bus outside of Willoughby City Hall during the city's Eco-Flea Market day and United Way of Lake County is encouraging residents to bring food items to fill the bus.

People who donate food Saturday will be entered into a WELW raffle that offersprizes of restaurant certificates, as well as tickets to the movies and Captains games.

The food collected during Feed Lake County is distributed to more than 50 local food pantries and the donated dollars buy food throughout the year, including two major purchases in September and December.

United Way of Lake County also uses the money to purchase turkeys near Thanksgiving and hams near Easter.

"Feed Lake County is important to filling many pantries in Lake County who continue to have increased requests from families with children and senior citizens," said Gayle Sikula, the food drive's coordinator.

"Hunger is very real in our community and as citizens; we can do something about it by simply sharing a can of food. That donated can of food will end up on a hungry family's table."

Items needed are canned veggies, canned fruit, canned meat, boxed meals, pasta and sauce, peanut butter, soups, breakfast items and personal items such as soap, toothpaste, shampoo, laundry detergent. Paper goods such as toilet paper are also accepted while monetary donations will be used to purchase food.

Both the pounds of food and the money raised for this year's Feed Lake County have fallen short of expectations and United Way is hoping that the community will once again come together before Monday's distribution to help increase food or money donations.

All food raised during Feed Lake County will be distributed to more than 50 local food pantries on Monday between 9:30 a.m. and 4 p.m. at the Office Max building in Mentor by the Great Lakes Mall.

Local food pantries continue to see an increase in clients who are in need of food as 2-1-1 reported more than 4,200 requests for food in 2012, which was up from 3,600 calls in 2011. From January of this year to March, there have been 865 calls for food, which is up from 516 calls between January and March of 2012.

If you'd like to contribute to Feed Lake County but cannot make it on Saturday, contact Gayle Sikula at 440.639.1082. Monetary donations can be mailed to United Way of Lake County, 9285 Progress Parkway, Mentor, OH.   

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