The Meadville Tribune and Second Harvest Food Bank hope you’ll help break a local record in aiding the area’s hungry.
The newspaper hosts the 13th annual Second Harvest Food Drive of Northwest Pennsylvania at the newspaper's office, 947 Federal Court, from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday.
"This is the time of year where we think of others around the holidays. This food drive is an easy way to give back to the community," said Heather Musacchio, communications coordinator for this region's Second Harvest Food Bank.
All the packaged food, turkeys and supplies collected in Meadville will stay in the area, benefiting Second Harvest member agencies, including St. John Missionary Baptist Food Pantry, Center for Family Services Food Pantry, Salvation Army Food Pantry, Linesville Food Pantry, United Faith Fellowship Food Pantry and Trinity Evangelical Lutheran Food Pantry, according to information provided by Second Harvest.
"And while food is a wonderful way to help, cash donations can go even farther," Musacchio said.
Each dollar donated to Second Harvest buys about five meals, she said.
Nonperishable donations should be dropped off at a collection station set up in the Tribune parking lot off Arch Street between Park Avenue and South Main Street in Meadville. Checks and cash will also be accepted.
Every item received will be checked for expiration date and condition. According to Musacchio, food usually remains acceptable for a year after the item’s expiration date — as long as the packaging is in good condition.
"The Tribune site is an easy way for people to give back to others less fortunate," Musacchio said, adding that people can easily pull into the newspaper's parking lot before or after work and volunteers can unload, weigh in and sort donations for distribution.
The Tribune partners with Allegheny College, COOL 101.7 FM and Erie News Now to host the event each year. COOL provides all-day radio coverage, and WICU airs interviews with Second Harvest Food Bank employees.
Second Harvest Food Bank of Northwest Pennsylvania is a nonprofit charitable organization that provides food to those in need within 11 counties of northwestern Pennsylvania. The organization is also actively involved in raising awareness and educating the community on the realities of hunger. Second Harvest's Erie County operation serves Cameron, Clarion, Clearfield, Crawford, Elk, Erie, Forest, Jefferson, McKean, Venango and Warren counties.
And about those records.
Last year the Tribune helped collect $11,289 (the record of $12,501.74 was set in 2015), 8,718 pounds of nonperishable food (record of 10,671 also was in 2015) and 77 turkeys (the record of 90 was set in 2016).
"The Meadville area amazes us every year with their generosity," Tribune Publisher Sharon Sorg said. "We hope they can turn out again and help us set a record while supporting those in need during the holidays."