The sixth annual “Each One, Feed One” Community Food Drive to benefit Monroe County United Ministries (MCUM), held August 25-28, came within 110 pounds of setting a collection record. Shoppers at stores across Bloomington and Ellettsville donated 16,305 pounds of food, hygiene items, and cleaning supplies. This was the largest amount collected since the first year of the event, which resulted in donations of 16,414 pounds.
Two hundred and nine volunteers donated 750 hours of their time over the weekend. Some volunteered for the first time, others signed up for their sixth year. Some spent hours in the sun talking to shoppers, some unloaded bag after bag of food at MCUM. One IU freshman spent her first Friday night in town collecting donations at Bloomingfoods. Others did not let their dependence on wheelchairs and walkers interfere with their commitment to collect food donations.
According to the volunteers, the response from shoppers at all participating stores was overwhelmingly positive. One volunteer reported that staff of the Marsh store on Kinser Pike delivered a cart overflowing with donations while the anonymous donor left through another door. Others were impressed by the active participation by Indiana University students. Some donors took the time to bring items from home to donate, including nutritional drinks and baby supplies that were no longer needed by their households.
The near-record setting collection from this year’s drive will help re-stock the shelves of MCUM’s Emergency Food Pantry and represents about 15% of the donations the pantry hopes to receive this year. During the first half of this year, MCUM handled 1,587 requests for basic needs assistance from households in financial crisis. Assistance may include food, clothing, hygiene products, and bus tickets. During this same period, enough food was distributed to make 21,312 meals. The 16,305 pounds collected last weekend – along with $2,210 donated by shoppers - will help keep the pantry running smoothly until the holiday season, a time of traditionally high donations.