YOUNGSTOWN - For the past 23 years, Second Harvest Food Bank has held the annual Harvest for Hunger campaign during which members of the community help get food and donations to the food bank with various fundraising efforts.
Harvest for Hunger is a food and funds drive that takes place in March and April to help stock the food bank shelves for the spring and summer months when donations taper off.
Michael Iberis, executive director, said that in 2013, more than $145,000 was raised and nearly 40,000 pounds of food collected. He said all funds raised and food collected stay in the tri-county area to help local families.
"We are all here to help feed the hungry people in our area which really makes a difference for our community. The need for food continues to grow. We have two semi trucks full of food leave here each day for food pantries and kitchens," he said.
Iberis said in 2013, a record 9.2 million pounds of food were distributed, the most the food bank has ever had.
Throughout the two months, local groups, organizations, foundations and individuals hold fundraising efforts to collect food and donations.
One of those helping is Braxton Hollis, 9, of Howland who for the fourth year collected food through a food drive at his home.
"This is one of my favorite things to do and I really like to help people," he said.
Hollis, a third-grader at Howland North Road School, has been able to collect thousands of pounds of food.
His mother, Courtnie Hollis, said friends, neighbors, family and people in the community helped fill food bags Braxton set up with canned goods and cereal.
"We are very proud of what he has done," she said.
Robin Powell, activity director with Windsor House in Champion, said the retirement home residents are taking part in the effort as are residents at all the Windsor House locations.
Boy Scout Andy Gretsinger of Troop 60 has collected 2,000 pounds of food and plans to do more for his Eagle Scout Award project this year.
Becky Miller, resource development manager for the food bank, said there are already more than 70 food drives scheduled.
Iberis said the food also helps six area school districts with backpack programs, since many children have no food in their homes and because of donations get food for the weekend.
"Many children in the area have to go to school to get a meal," he said.
For information on participating with the campaign, call 330-792-5522, Ext. 11.