MODESTO -- Three thousand cans, boxes and bags of food.
That's what Inter-Faith Ministries of Greater Modesto has collected during a five-week food drive that ends today with a health fair at Orville Wright Elementary School in the airport neighborhood, one of Modesto's poorest communities.
The food drive was timed to end Oct. 16, a day recognized each year by the United Nations as World Food Day.
Inter-Faith Executive Director Barbara England said she is very pleased with the results and said the cans of tuna, jars of peanut butter and bags of pasta are very much needed. Inter-Faith is on track to provide food to more than 46,000 people this year, which is twice as many as it served two years ago.
Children and their families make up the majority of people Inter-Faith feeds. But seniors and the disabled also are well-represented.
Inter-Faith collected the food at three dozen barrels and boxes its staff placed at grocery stores, banks, school, hospitals and other sites throughout greater Modesto.
"We're are very happy that some of our collection sites are leaving the barrels out through November," England said.
The food drive concludes today at Wright Elementary with a health fair that is expected to draw as many as 500 people from the airport neighborhood.
England said Inter-Faith partnered with Wright because the ministry serves many of its students and their families, and the school has a strong interest in improving the health and eating habits of its students.
The health fair for airport neighborhood residents is from 4:30 to 7 p.m. at Orville Wright Elementary School, 1602 Monterey Ave.
Bee staff writer Kevin Valine can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (209) 578-2316.