A Modesto food pantry is raising awareness about hunger and keeping its shelves stocked through an annual food drive that ends Oct.16, which is celebrated each year by the United Nations as World Food Day.
Inter-Faith Ministries of Greater Modesto has collection sites at about a dozen schools, businesses and churches, including McHenry Bowl and the three O’Brien’s Markets.
The food drive started mid-September, and Inter-Faith hopes to collect more than 2,000 cans of fruits and vegetables; jars of peanut butter; cans of tuna; bags of pasta and rice; and other dry, packaged food over the 30 days.
“Every individual who contributes even one item has demonstrated that they are aware of the hunger issue that is rampant locally, and worldwide, and that is the primary goal of World Food Day,” Inter-Faith spokeswoman Elizabeth Greenlee-Harrison wrote in an email. This is the second straight year Inter-Faith has held a food drive to coincide with World Food Day.
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Inter-Faith received more than 16,000 of the more than 48,000 cans of food St. Joseph’s Catholic Church in Modesto recently collected, but will need additional food to get through the holidays and winter.
Greenlee-Harrison said Inter-Faith provided food to about 40,000 people last year through its pantry program. Inter-Faith expects to serve 5,000 to 6,000 additional people this year through its food pantry because of government cutbacks in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, formerly known as food stamps.
She said Inter-Faith gives out enough food each year through its pantry and other programs as well as the 62 agencies it provides with food to serve about 1million meals.