Johnson County’s 2022 Feed the Need campaign collects substantial food donation for local pantries

Feed the Need logo with sunflower logo in background

Johnson County’s 2022 Feed the Need campaign is providing more than 69 tons of food donations and cash to benefit seven local food pantries.

Results of the Feed the Need campaign were announced Thursday, July. 28, at the Board of County Commissioners meeting. Assistant County Manager Joe Connor and Shannon Miller, finance manager for the county’s corrections department, shared the good news. They were campaign co-chairs.

“Our annual Feed the Need campaign is very important to our local food pantries and our residents of all ages in need,” Miller said. “Our employees have continually made a difference in feeding the needs year in, year out within Johnson County.”

On Thursday, the co-chairs announced that the 2022 campaign collected 138,553 pounds of food, both in actual food donations and cash of more than $33,500. A $1 donation represents four pounds of food. The collection was an almost 23% increase over donations in the 2021 campaign.

Feed the Need campaign featured a variety of fundraising activities

Women in blue t-shirts manage a table of baked goods

The 2022 campaign occurred from March 1 to June 30. It included the return of an event day on May 12, featuring food booths, raffles and fun activities by county departments and employees in the Johnson County Square, in downtown Olathe. The annual Feed the Need event day was cancelled over the past two years because of COVID-19.

“It was great to have in-person event held again,” Connor said.

Three of the seven benefiting food panties are in multi-service centers at Mission, Lenexa and Gardner, operated by the Johnson County Department of Aging and Human Services. In 2021, the food pantries served 1,304 households.

The county campaign also assists food pantries operated by Catholic Charities of Northeast Kansas, Shawnee Community Services, First Christian Church of Olathe and Salvation Army.

“None of this would have been possible without the dedication of Feed the Need representatives in our departments and offices and the generous donations from our county employees,” Connor said. “We thank them all for helping to feed hungry people in our community at a time when it is needed most. Unfortunately, it’s a need that’s not going away.”

County departments and agencies contribute to donation totals

Facilities staff members pose with award plaques in the hearing room

Twenty county departments/agencies contributed to the 2022 campaign, with donations ranging from less than 1,000 pounds to more than 22 tons.

  • The Facilities Department received all three annual Feed the Need recognitions, including:
  • The Chairman’s Award for collecting the most food
  • The Commissioners’ Plaque for the best average per person collection
  • The Rick Beckwith Cup for having the highest percent of increased collections from the previous year. The cup honors Beckwith, a longtime Facilities Department employee who was an active participant in the annual food drives for many years.

The county’s Feed the Need campaign first started in 1987, when the Johnson County District Attorney’s Office made a small donation of less than a ton to a Shawnee food pantry. Beckwith saw the need to turn this effort into an annual food drive by county government. All campaigns have been dedicated in Beckwith’s memory since his death in 2004.

Johnson County has collected more than four million pounds of donations for local pantries in its Feed the Need campaigns since the annual food drives began 35 years ago.

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Board of County Commissioners