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A countywide food drive will bring meals to families in need this Thanksgiving

Oct 29, 2020

Members of the Uniting and Healing through Hope of Monroe County coordinating team.
Credit Tyronda James

A countywide food drive will bring meals to families in need this Thanksgiving holiday. 

Monroe County legislator Vince Felder, county police officials, and members of Uniting and Healing through Hope of Monroe County made the announcement Wednesday.

Clay Harris, founder of Uniting and Healing through Hope of Monroe County, came up with the idea of bringing different organizations together to address the socioeconomic and health needs during the pandemic.

“The lord gave me this idea about United and bringing the community together. By what we do here it will catch on and help transform the whole country,” says Harris.

He reached out to Monroe County Legislators Steve Brew, Ernest Flagler-Mitchell and Vince Felder who helped gather additional support from other community and organizational leaders. 

Community members are encouraged to donate non-perishable items or send monetary donations that will be used to aid charitable organizations who make and distribute food baskets across the county.

Jennifer Dunivent, a volunteer, says they are specifically looking to collaborate with community organizations, who had to forgo serving their traditional hot meals during the pandemic.

"We actually have a specific list of food items," says Dunivent. "So it makes it very easy for a community organization to get involved by helping to run their own food drive and prepare food baskets for us."

Montgomery Neighborhood Center Executive Director Tiffany Owens says they are excited to strengthen the efforts to serve the community.

"We are all experiencing the feeling of solitude, that at we’re alone, that we’re not connect because of the pandemic." Says Owens. "What this initiative gives an opportunity to do is to get together, reach out and let individuals know that they aren’t not alone."

The food drive is the first of initiatives for Uniting and Healing through Hope of Monroe County. Harris says depending on the success of the November food drive, they will consider a Christmas food basket drive.

Food donations are being accepted until Nov. 17 and monetary donations will be accepted until Nov. 20. Food baskets are scheduled to be distributed Nov. 24 through Nov. 26.

Anyone interested can find information about donation drop-off sites and participating organizations at www.unitingthroughhope.com and the group’s Facebook page.