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With the assistance of Kansas City Royals Mascot Sluggerrr, Johnson County’s 2012 Feed the Need campaign chalked up another victory on its winning scoreboard that has spanned more than two and a half decades.
With a theme of “All Stars” to commemorate the baseball All-Star Game on July 10 at Kansas City’s Kauffman Stadium, the campaign collected 164 tons in food donations and cash to benefit 10 local food pantries.
Results of the Feed the Need campaign were announced Thursday, August 2, to the Board of County Commissioners by Walt Way, director of the Johnson County Department of Emergency Management and Communications, and Michael Meadors, director of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District. They served as co-chairmen in the 2012 campaign.
“It’s amazing that despite a difficult economic climate our employees really have made a difference this year,” Meadors said. “This campaign was challenging from the start with increased demands for food and a reduced pool of employees to participate in the annual food drive. Both factors affected achieving our overall goal of 187 tons, but the county’s annual donation is greatly appreciated by the food pantries for helping them feed the needs within Johnson County.”
“None of this would have been possible without the sharing and caring of many employees and their families,” he said. “We thank them all for helping to feed hungry people in our community at a time when it is needed most.”
All donations collected in the food drive will benefit food pantries serving eligible Johnson County citizens. Thursday’s ceremony included presentation of ceremonial checks of $8,053.83 to the representatives from all of the pantries.
Also on Thursday, 23 county departments/agencies received tonnage awards, ranging from one to 30 tons. Certificates of Appreciation were presented to eight departments totaling 4.5 tons.
The celebration announced the Department of Public Works and Infrastructure as the recipient of both the Chairman’s Award for collecting the most food and the Commissioners’ Plaque for the best average per person collection.
The recipient of the Rick Beckwith Cup was the office staff of the Johnson County Mental Health Center for having the highest percentage of increased collections from the previous year. Mental Health increased its donations by 159 percent. The annual award honors Beckwith, a longtime Facilities Department employee who died in 2004. He was a longtime active participant in Feed the Need campaigns. Since that time, the county has dedicated all future Feed the Need campaigns in his memory.
All donations collected in the food drive will benefit 10 local food pantries serving eligible Johnson County citizens. The pantries include:
- Blue Valley Multi-Service Center (Overland Park);
- De Soto Multi-Service Center;
- Spring Hill Multi-Service Center;
- North-Central Multi-Service Center (Lenexa);
- Roeland Park Community Center;
- Gardner Multi-Service Center;
- Shawnee Community Services;
- Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas; and,
- Salvation Army and First Christian Church, both in Olathe.
Six of the food pantries are located in multi-service centers operated by the Johnson County Department of Human Services. Last year, the six pantries provided food assistance to 2,098 households and served 14,010 individuals.
According to the Mid-America Assistance Coalition, food pantry services by Johnson County charities and agencies, including the multi-service centers, served 8,857 households, totaling 28,832 individuals, in 2011.
“This was an All-Star event in Johnson County,” Meadors said. “To raise 164 tons in a time like this, Johnson County did good.”
Johnson County’s Feed the Need involvement started in 1987 with one county department and the collection of less than one ton of food. Including the 2012 collections, County Government has collected more than 3.5 million pounds of donations for local pantries since the program started 23 years ago.
The county has been a lead participating organization in the annual metropolitan Feed the Need campaign since 1988. Feed the Need is a regional effort coordinated by the Mid-America Regional Council, the Mid-America Assistance Coalition, and Harvesters International.
More information is available by contacting Walt Way, Director of the Johnson County Department of Emergency Management and Communications, at (913) 826-1010 or WWay@jocogov.org or Michael Meadors, Director of the Johnson County Park and Recreation District at (913) 894-3310 or email@example.com. They serve as co-chairs of the 2012 Feed the Need campaign.