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Mid-summer food drive Friday

By LEANA CHOATE - lchoate@newsexaminer.com

Filling food gaps in the community is the goal of the Fayette County Food Policy Council.

Friday night is the Food Policy Council’s July Food Drive. It’s partly an experiment to see whether people will donate as much now as during the Christmas holidays. 

“We know that most people donate food around the holidays, but then the food pantries run short through the spring and summer months on food,” Shari Phegley, co-advisor of the Food Policy Council said. 

In December last year, the Food Policy Council collected a total of 4,208 pounds of food. In April of this year, that number fell to under half of that, at 2,100 pounds. 

“People are hungry 365 days a year,” said the other Food Policy Council co-advisor, Becky Marvel. “We collect most foods around the holidays, so we decided to see what we would collect in July when things start to run short. I’m curious to see what July brings.”

The Food Policy Council has had three food drives, in November, December and April. The three drives totaled over 9,700 pounds of food to be distributed to local food pantries.

The Food Policy Council will collect non-perishable foods and personal hygiene items Friday starting at 4 p.m. outside of Walmart, 4200 Western Ave.; Connersville IGA, 1508 Virginia Ave.; Kroger, 516 W. 30th St.; Save-A-Lot, 3100 Virginia Ave. and Dollar General, 224 Central Ave.

The Food Policy Council takes the donations and distributes them to food pantries around the county for people in need. 

“We (Food Policy Council) aren’t here to take the food pantries in the area’s jobs, we just want to help them get what they need,” Marvel said. “Before we go to these places to collect food, we try to ask the food pantries what foods and items do they need more of, what is their wish list, and then we try to get those things for them.”

All the food is donated to people locally, Phegley said.

“It impacts the community economically,” she said. “The money we spend on food and items gets spent to help local businesses.”

The Food Policy Council is also moving forward with a goal of having a food hub in Connersville. The hub would store food and help get it out local pantries.

A building has been donated to The Shelter, a non-for-profit organization, to be used for homeless people and as a distribution hub for pantries. 

“The gentleman (Jason Spears, president of The Shelter) as been able to help with the food hub and bring in frozen meats from a local business,” Marvel said. “Having this food hub allows the pantries more access to frozen products. Before, some of them would drive all the way to Indianapolis to get meats. Having a hub would save them time and money on things like this and allows us to store more foods and other kinds of foods.”

The July Food Drive starts at 4 p.m. Friday. Anyone who wants to donate food and personal items may drop them off at 4 p.m. at the First Presbyterian Church, 700 Central Ave.