Local nonprofit organization The Caring Place is asking for the community's help as it prepares for its "Summer Doesn't Take a Vacation Community Food Drive." On Monday, July 30, from 7 a.m. to …
Local nonprofit organization The Caring Place is asking for the community's help as it prepares for its "Summer Doesn't Take a Vacation Community Food Drive."
On Monday, July 30, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., the organization is asking the community to stop by the organization's location at 130 Wildwood Ave. S.E., to donate nonperishable food. Volunteers will be on hand to help unload people's cars.
"In the summer we see an increased need for food," said Corinne Freeman, executive director of The Caring Place. "That is also when we see a decrease in donations."
Freeman said there are a variety of factors that lead to this being the case. Among them are that parents are having to prepare more meals at home when children are no longer getting meals at school. Though there are summer lunch programs for children, a lack of transportation remains an issue for some.
Summer also tends to be when “families in transition,” those who are homeless or facing other insecure living situations, tend to move from place to place, said Freeman. A steady supply of food is not always guaranteed.
“Our shelves are getting a lot more bare than we'd like them to be this summer,” Freeman said. “We want to focus on getting our supply of nonperishable food to the level that we need.”
The Caring Place provides a variety of services to families in need, including social work services and the chance to receive free clothing. However, food remains the organization’s most popular offering.
Individuals registered with the organization can stop by once a month to receive a large bag of food, and families can stop by twice a month. Even with limits in place, Freeman said food goes fast during the summer.
The organization distributes about 14,000 pounds of food during an average month, Freeman said. Choosing to “dream big,” The Caring Place's goal is to collect 14,000 pounds of food next Monday.
The executive director stressed the community has been great to The Caring Place. However, the demands of fall food drives tend to make people forget how hungry families can get during the summer.
"We know that people in our community are very generous, and we are asking them to step up for us again, to make sure we have all we need," said Freeman.
The Caring Place is accepting all types of in-date, nonperishable food during the upcoming drive — everything from canned fruit, vegetables and soups to boxes of cereal. Freeman said "kid-friendly" items like macaroni and cheese, pasta and pasta sauce, peanut butter and jelly and condiments like ketchup are always in demand.
Those who cannot donate next Monday can do so at any time during regular business hours or at special barrels at local businesses such as Jenkin's Deli and Whirlpool.
Financial donations are also "very much welcomed," Freeman said. The organization is able to purchase select fresh food items from an area food bank and other grocery suppliers.
The community can also help by volunteering for two-hour shifts to collect and sort food donations Monday. Volunteers must be at least 16 years old, or at least 12 if accompanied by an adult. Those wishing to volunteer are asked to call and sign up by this Thursday.
For more information or to volunteer, visit www.thecaringplaceonline.org or call 423-472-4414.
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