>Hunger is Year-Round

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Hunger doesn’t end with the holiday season. It’s a year-round problem affecting thousands of families in our region, and this January you have the opportunity to make a difference.

HandsOn West Central Ohio, including the Retired and Senior Volunteer Program, is teaming up with Hits 105.5 for its second annual Martin Luther King Day food drive. This drive, which collected more than one ton of food for local food pantries in its first year, will be held on Monday, January 17, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Volunteers of all ages are needed to staff collection barrels at sites throughout Darke, Logan, Miami and Shelby Counties. Additional volunteers are needed to pick up, sort and deliver food following the event. Proceeds will benefit Bethany Center, Darke County FISH, Holy Angels Soup Kitchen and Our Daily Bread. All items collected in Darke County will stay in Darke County. This year’s event is co-chaired by RSVP volunteers Mary Williston of Zanesfield and Nancy Sharp of Piqua.

Don’t have time to volunteer? Organize a food drive within your school, church, company or even amongst your friends. Items especially needed include canned meats, peanut butter, cereal, soups, and more. Collection points will be available locally on January 17 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Eikenberry’s IGA and Kroger, and a drive-thru collection point will be available at the American Red Cross in Darke County.

“I am participating in this food drive because I personally know people who are out of work and in need of the food and meals that the food pantries offer,” says event co-chair and RSVP volunteer Mary Williston. “Requests for assistance in these facilities have nearly doubled in the last couple of years. Every time I go into a grocery store – even for one item – I pick up something that I can donate. If half of the people did this, we could make sure everyone has food to feed their families.”

A national day of volunteer service, the Martin Luther King Day of Service is a way to transform Dr. King’s life and teachings into community service that helps empower and strengthen local communities. The aim is to make the holiday a day ON, where people of all ages and backgrounds come together to improve lives, bridge social barriers, and move our nation closer to the “Beloved Community” that Dr. King envisioned. A record number of Americans honored Dr. King and answered President Obama’s call to service by volunteering last year. Americans made it “a day on, not a day off” by delivering meals, refurbishing schools, reading to children, signing up mentors, and much, much more.

HandsOn West Central Ohio, a program of Council on Rural Services, is proud to be a part of this national effort. To view a list of collection points or to learn more about HandsOn West Central Ohio, visit http://www.handsonwestcentralohio.org/ or call (937) 548-8002, ext. 211.

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