First responders again are collecting food to stock regional soup kitchens and pantries.
The first collection for the Emergency of Hunger Food Drive is set for Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at the Manchester Stop & Shop, 286 Broad St. The effort is to continue the following weekend.
Now in its ninth year, the drive relies on volunteers from police, fire and emergency medical agencies, along with Rotary Club members and Stop & Shop and Geissler’s supermarkets. Collections benefit clients of soup kitchens and food pantries run by Manchester Area Conference of Churches Charities and the Hockanum Valley Community Council.
Last year, people donated about 34,000 food items, 650 turkeys and $16,000 in gift cards and cash.
“Every year we are shocked, amazed and proud of the generosity we see,” food drive spokesman Patrick Gleason of Ambulance Service of Manchester said Monday. “To date, our records show a combined total of 1,149,000 meals served.”
Drive organizers, Gleason said, are asking representatives of schools, businesses, health care facilities and other organizations to collect food to add to the totals. Along with food, people are asked to donate cash, gift cards and personal care items.
The drive is to continue on Nov. 18 and 19 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at:
_ Manchester Stop & Shop on Broad Street
_ Stop & Shop in Vernon, 10 Pitkin Road
_ Stop & Shop in the Rockville section of Vernon, 50 Windsorville Road
_ Stop & Shop in South Windsor, 1739 Ellington Road
_ Geissler’s in South Windsor, 965 Sullivan Ave.
Donations also may be dropped at the Ambulance Service of Manchester at 275 New State Road on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Gleason said.
To date, the drive has collected about 247,000 food items, 7,000 turkeys and $159,500 in gift cards and cash donations.