United Way of Lake County Kicks Off 27th Annual Feed Lake County Food Drive

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United Way of Lake County Kicked Off Annual Feed Lake County Food Drive and Fundraising Program March 1, 2019

March 7, 2019 – Mentor, OH – United Way of Lake County (UWLC) kicked off its 27th annual spring Feed Lake County food drive on Friday, March 1, 2019. The food drive and fundraiser will run through April 30, 2019. UWLC is reaching out to organizations and residents for help setting up and running food drives and fundraisers for this cause.

A total of 19,231 Lake County residents live in poverty and 25,410 residents live with food insecurity. That’s nearly 1 in 9 residents who suffer from hunger.

Calls for help from those suffering from hunger rank #1 among all inquiries received at Lifeline’s 2-1-1 information referral helpline. Last year, they received 8,520 incoming inquiries for food assistance.

ALICE®, a United Way acronym for Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed, are households that earn more than the Federal Poverty Level, but less than the basic cost of living (The ALICE® Threshold). The number of poverty and ALICE® households combined equals the total population struggling to afford basic needs, including food. In Lake County, 8% of the 96,655 households here live in poverty, while 23% fall into the ALICE® category. Combined, the number of poverty and ALICE households struggling to afford basic needs like food is 29,963, nearly one-third of all Lake County households.

According to Tami Lewis, UWLC Director of Marketing and Communications, “ALICE represents the men and women who get up each day to go to work but still struggle to afford life’s basic necessities. These are the people who live paycheck to paycheck without a savings to fall back on. When an unexpected expense occurs, like the need to replace a water heater or obtain medical care, this takes an enormous toll on their ability stay afloat. Residents in these situations are forced to ask themselves if the day’s priority is paying for needed household repairs, putting food on the table for their families or filling their cars with gas to get to work.”

Due to the number of people struggling, UWLC is running an incentive to help encourage monetary donations. For every $5 donated, those who give will receive one contest entry for a chance to win a 55” LG Smart TV. Every $5 donated is enough to provide 20 meals. Donors who contribute $10 will receive 2 contest entries while providing enough food for 40 meals. Those who contribute $25 will receive 5 contest entries while providing enough food for 100 meals and so on.

UWLC’s contest runs from now through April 30, 2019 and the winner of the tv will be selected on or about May 16, 2019.

The food and funds collected from the Feed Lake County program allow United Way of Lake County to help support approximately 50 local food pantries who distribute to Lake County residents in need.  The most requested food items include boxed or canned meals like mac and cheese and tuna helper; canned meats like tuna, chicken and spam; pasta and pasta sauce; peanut butter and jelly; cereal;  canned fruit and vegetables; and canned soup and stew. Other needed items include baby food and formula and even paper and personal hygiene products such as paper towels, toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, shampoo, soap and deodorant.

According to UWLC President and CEO Jennifer McCarty, “Due to the generosity of our community, we were able to provide Lake County food pantries with enough food for 230,427 meals last year to help feed our hungry.”

“Based on the number of households that live at or below the ALICE threshold, I would like to make a heartfelt plea for residents to continue to join us in our fight against hunger. A small $5 donation means the world to someone in need and contributions can easily be made online at www.uwlc.org/feed,” said McCarty.

UWLC is looking for support and asking residents and organizations to consider helping in one of the following ways:

• Organize a food drive at your company, organization, church or neighborhood and donate the food items and money collected to United Way of Lake County. For more information, call 440-639-1236 or email them at  jmatsko@uwlc.org.

• Make a monetary donation. This can be done online at www.uwlc.org/feed or by mailing a check payable to United Way of Lake County to 9285 Progress Parkway, Mentor, OH, 44094. Food and monetary donations can also be dropped off at this address or you may contact them to arrange for pick up by calling 440-639-1236 or emailing jmatsko@uwlc.org.

• Eat breakfast, lunch or dinner at one of over 40 participating restaurants on Tuesday, April 16, 2019 during UWLC’s Dine to Donate community-wide restaurant fundraiser. A list of all participating restaurants who will donate a portion of their day’s sales to Feed Lake County will be posted in the next few weeks at www.uwlc.org.

All food items collected during Feed Lake County will be distributed to more than 50 food pantries in May. The money collected during Feed Lake County will be used to make food purchases throughout 2019 to help restock the food pantries later in the year.