Marion County is encouraging residents and businesses to help those in need this holiday season by taking part in its 11th annual “Bring the Harvest Home” holiday food drive.
“We encourage our community to pull together again to help ‘bring the harvest home’ in support of Marion County’s less fortunate residents during this special season,” said Marion County Commissioner Kathy Bryant.
The effort to collect canned food and toiletry donations will culminate on Friday, December 2, from 7:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. on the Downtown Square in Ocala. The donated goods will help fill local food pantries.
“This food drive is what ensures that those who come to us in December get an adequate amount of food, not just holiday meals,“ said Karla Grimsley, Interfaith Emergency Services CEO.
During last year’s “Bring the Harvest Home” event, nearly 21,000 pounds of food, baby, and toiletry items were collected, along with monetary donations that totaled nearly $160,000. These donations were shared among the Salvation Army, Brother’s Keeper, and Interfaith Emergency Services.
The most needed items this holiday season include:
- Dry foods and complementary goods (rice, pasta, pasta sauce, cereal, crackers, and peanut butter and jelly). Plastic containers are preferred.
- Canned meats (corned beef, corned beef hash, ham, and tuna).
- Canned vegetables and fruit.
- Baby items (baby cereal, diapers, and lotion).
- Toiletries (soap, shampoo, deodorant, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and toilet paper).
Donations may be dropped off at the Downtown Square on December 2, or at many other locations through December 2.
The drop-off locations for donations include public libraries, city and county fire stations, Marion County Sheriff’s Office district offices, tax collector offices, Solid Waste recycling centers, Ocala Police Department, Supervisor of Elections, Ocala City Hall, Marion County Administration, and the Ocala/Marion County Chamber and Economic Partnership headquarters.