Archive for Thursday, June 21, 2007

Annual Feed the Need campaign to begin Thursday

June 21, 2007

Johnson County government is preparing for its annual food drive in several Johnson County communities and needs the help of county employees and from Johnson County citizens.

The county government's 2007 Feed the Need Campaign will officially begin with a celebration from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday on the square between the Johnson County Courthouse and administration building in downtown Olathe.

The theme for this fund-raising, food-collecting program will be "007: Live and Let Thrive." The goal has been set at 125 tons of food in either cash or food donations. Each donated dollar is roughly equivalent to four pounds of food.

The celebration will feature fun and food for all ages, including the selling of crafts and flowers, games, live music and performances, drawings for prizes, donation opportunities and other attractions. Organizers also anticipate a splash of success from the popular dunk tank with county officials, such as department heads and county managers taking turns on the platform above the tank of water.

The campaign will end July 6.

"Every year it gets bigger and better. We are prepared to make this year the best ever," Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby said.

He is serving as the 2007 Feed the Need campaign chairman.

"Feed the Need is an important fund-raising campaign by Johnson County Government and serves an important role to the Johnson County community. There is a critical need to keep up with increasing requests for food assistance at our local food pantries by citizens and families in need. Unfortunately, it's a need that's not going away."

Johnson County's Feed the Need started in 1987 with one county department and the collection of less than one ton of food. Last year, the county collected a record 144 tons of food with a goal set at 120 tons.

The county has been a lead participating organization in the annual metropolitan Feed the Need campaign since 1988. Feed the Need is a regional effort coordinated by the Mid-America Regional Council, the Mid-America Assistance Coalition, and Harvesters International.

All donations collected in the 2007 food drive will benefit 10 food pantries serving eligible Johnson County citizens, including the De Soto Multi-Service Center.

For the De Soto site, a drawing for a "For Your Lips Only" basket will take place in the near future. Tickets are available for a $1 donation or six tickets for $5. Each person that donates a food item to the food pantry will also receive a ticket for a chance to win the prize, which includes two tins of gourmet hot chocolate, four packages of gourmet marshmallows, Dulce de Leche wafer cookies, two hot chocolate mugs and assorted candy.

Last year, the De Soto Multi-Service Center received a pickup load of food and $6,000 to purchase food.

All proceeds will benefit the "Feed the Need" campaign for 2007.

For more information, call Jodi Hitchcock at 583-1152.

"We all know the importance of the county's Feed the Need campaign to the hungry in our community," Newby said. "We traditionally provide about a third of the annual food distributed by the food pantries through this effort."

Last year the five pantries, operated by the Johnson County Department of Human Services and Aging, at multi-service centers in Overland Park, Lenexa, De Soto, Gardner, and Spring Hill supplied 2,458 households, totaling 7,519 individuals, with about 825,000 pounds (412.5 tons) of food. Slightly more than 900 individuals from 346 households were first-time users.

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