First Posted: 10/31/2013 8:33:30 PM | Last Updated: 10/31/2013 8:33:53 PM
LAFAYETTE – Food Finders Food Bank, Inc. is kicking off its annual Drive Away Hunger fall food drive, a community-wide effort from Oct. 26 through Dec 2.
Food Finders is asking the community to come together to help collect 150,000 meals to stock the food bank’s shelves for the over 160 agencies it serves across Tippecanoe and 15 surrounding counties.
This year, Food Finders is beginning Drive Away Hunger with the national Make a Difference Day community action event hosted by the Journal and Courier. Make a Difference Day is a celebration of neighbors helping neighbors.
Millions of volunteers from around the world will unite in a common mission to improve the lives of others in their communities on this day. The Journal and Courier staff and their families are hosting two Mobile Pantry distributions and are volunteering their time at the Food Bank to package bulk frozen food for this year’s Make a Difference Day.
"Gannett and the Journal & Courier have a long, rich history of community leadership and our commitment to volunteerism goes far beyond a single day," says Howard Witt, executive editor at the Journal & Courier. "Our renewed support for Make A Difference Day is one more way to show our readers and users that we are here to serve the greater good. It is who we are and what we do."
Food Finders’ executive director, Katy Bunder added, "This is our third year to hold the Drive Away Hunger food drive. It’s very gratifying to see all the different organizations in our community that want to help feed the hungry. I hope this will be the biggest drive yet. We really need the food as we prepare for the holiday season."
Several area businesses are sponsoring the 2013 food drive to allow Food Finders to increase awareness of the food drive and the need for food. Food Finders would like to thank its Key sponsors: Evonik Corporation, Tippecanoe Laboratories, the Journal and Courier, and Hawkins Outdoor; Engine sponsor: CityBus; and Navigator sponsors: ACell, Inc. and Cook Medical.
According to recent statistics from Feeding America’s "Map the Meal Gap," roughly 86,000 residents in the Food Finders service area are food insecure, nearly 30,000 of which are children under the age of 18. In response to continued unemployment and poverty rates, Food Finders is hosting Drive Away Hunger to combat the effects of this national problem of hunger on a local level. It is crucial that food pantries and their supporting food banks, like Food Finders, keep their food shelves full as more and more Americans are visiting food pantries as a regular source of food rather than for emergencies only.
Over 35 local businesses, area schools, and churches have already signed on to organize food drives during this time. Several community events are planned to help raise awareness throughout the food drive including:
--Oct. 26: Make a Difference Day with the Journal and Courier and Gannett Foundation
--Oct. 28 and 30: Christ United Methodist Church hosts Haunted Halls
--Nov. 9: Bicycle Lafayette’s Commuter and Cargo Bike Rally and food drive ride
--Nov. 9: Flip Off Hunger Pinball Tournament food drive at Main Street Amusements
--Nov. 16: The third annual Josh Lindblom Foundation Charity Game Night
--Nov. 27: Annual Feed the Need Day with WASK Radio Group and Marsh Supermarkets
--Nov. 28: Fleet Feet Sports Thanksgiving Day Race Against Hunger 5K
--Dec. 2: Drive Away Hunger closes with the Food Finders Cyber Monday Challenge
For complete event details and to find out how you can make a difference, go to www.food-finders.org/DriveAwayHunger. A full list of community events and drop off locations is available there. Food Finders encourages the community to please consider joining the effort this year to raise 150,000 meals, together we can Drive Away Hunger.
About Food Finders: Since 1981, Food Finders Food Bank, a member of Feeding America, has worked to provide full service programs that meet the nutritional needs of more than 170 nonprofit agencies in 16 counties across Mid-North Indiana. The food bank manages programs to secure additional food and nonfood products, provide food safety training, rescue food items otherwise wasted, and fund essential purchase product items. With the help of many, Food Finders continues each day to provide a hand up to those in need. In 2012, Food Finders distributed over 6 million pounds of food throughout Mid-North Indiana; a 116 percent increase since 2008. For more information contact Food Finders Food Bank, Inc. at 765-471-0062 or visit www.food-finders.org.