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County exceeds goal in 2017 food drive, collects more than 167 tons

Johnson County is again helping to feed a growing need locally with a successful 2017 food drive campaign. The county has been a leading participant in the annual metropolitan Feed the Need efforts since 1988.

The Feed the Need campaign, which celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2017, helps fill the shelves at seven county food pantries with more than 167 tons of food. This year’s campaign goal was set at 335,000 pounds of food in either cash or food donations to benefit local food pantries serving county residents.

The campaign collected 335,329 pounds — or 167.66 tons.

“Without the hard work and dedication of Johnson County Government employees, our local pantries would be unable to meet the growing needs of the people in our community who are less fortunate,” said Ellen Wernicke, who served as the 2017 Feed the Need campaign chairman. “This type of team effort is what makes this county a great place to live and work.”

Wernicke, director of Emergency Management and Communications, announced the campaign results Aug. 24 at the county commission’s regular business meeting.

The effort benefits community and family support services at the four multi-service centers operated by the Department of Human Services. Collections support county food pantries in Mission, Lenexa and Gardner.

In 2016, the food pantries served 1,275 households, providing 3,210 services.

Feed the Need collections also assist food pantries operated by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Shawnee Community Services, First Christian Church of Olathe and Salvation Army. Each will receive $8,170 in support from the 2017 campaign.

Johnson County’s Feed the Need started in 1987 when the District Attorney’s Office made a small donation, amounting to less than one ton, to a Shawnee food pantry. Since then, county government has donated more than four million pounds of donations for local pantries in the annual food drive.