United Way leading spring food drive

Bartholomew County residents can ensure children have enough to eat this summer by participating in the Community-Wide Food Drive this spring.

United Way of Bartholomew County and the Bartholomew County Food Insecurity Coalition are hosting the food drive for the entire month of April. The organizations’ leaders hope to collect 200,000 pounds of food or the monetary equivalent to purchase the food.

This food drive is more important than ever as food pantries in Bartholomew County are seeing an increase in need and people who have never sought help before are now getting assistance from food pantries, said Kelly Daugherty, executive director of Love Chapel, the community’s largest food pantry.

“The need has increased dramatically,” Daugherty said. “In the last year, our food pantry has seen a 40 percent increase and care packages to schools have doubled. Love Chapel is now serving 1 in 10 people in Bartholomew County.”

All the food and donations collected will be split between Love Chapel, Salvation Army and Community Center of Hope.

Churches and businesses throughout the community are running internal food drives throughout this time. People can also drop off food donations at any First Financial Bank location in Bartholomew County or at YES Cinema, 328 Jackson St., in Columbus throughout April.

The top food needs identified by the food pantries include:

• Peanut Butter

• Soups/Stews- low sodium

• Cereal

• Pastas

• Pasta Sauce

• Rice

• Canned Veggies- low sodium

• Canned Fruits- in fruit juice

• Jelly

• Bagged side dishes (instant mashed potatoes, noodles, rice, etc.)

• Canned Pastas (beefaroni, ravioli, spaghetti & meatballs).

Monetary donations can be made online by going to uwbarthco.org and clicking on “Community Food Drive,” and then “Give a Gift.”