Cranberry Township's Sunrise Rotary Club is gearing up for another successful food drive.
The club hopes Sunday’s event will be as successful as the food drive it sponsored for Gleaners earlier this month, which resulted in the largest collection the nonprofit has received.
“The donations that we received through this food drive were extraordinary,” food bank Director Linda Heery said shortly after the drive. “Most of the donations were things that we rarely get enough of -- toothpaste, paper products and canned meats. Now we are able to triple what our clients normally receive.”
Based at St. Ferdinand’s Catholic Church in Cranberry, Gleaners supplies more than 100 local families with food and other basic grocery items each month. The organization relies heavily on the generosity of the community, and donations always are needed to sustain the high demand. Heery said donations are abundant during the holiday months, but contributions tend to dwindle in the spring.
That’s why Sunrise Rotary decided to step in.
Dr. Patrick Francis, a Sunrise Rotary member who helped put together the drive, said the club was happy to help.
“The motto of the Rotary is ‘Service Above Self.’ We do what we can to come together to help our community in so many aspects,” he said. “I can’t wait to see what we accomplish for Gleaners next year.”
With the help of the Seneca Valley lacrosse team and family and friends of the Sunrise Rotary Club members, volunteers spent February knocking on almost 5,000 doors throughout Cranberry. Volunteers also blanketed the area to distribute fliers and ask residents to get involved with the drive.
Francis said the response exceeded expectations.
“The residents of Cranberry Township really jumped on board for this,” he said. “That is the great thing about Cranberry Township -- where there is a need, we fill it.”
Volunteers later set out to collect the promised donations and get them to the food bank. After they saw the bags of donated items that filled the trucks and vans, they realized they had collected enough goods to sustain the food bank for the entire month.
“It has actually taken us over the course of three days to unload the donations. Our shelves are completely stocked thanks to this food drive,” Heery said. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Heery said it was refreshing to watch the community pull together for a good cause in tough economic times.
“We help so many different types of people,” she said. “From families to senior citizens on their own, our donations really do help those in need. A lot of our clients are people who choose not to accept other forms of help such as welfare. We really help bring monthly costs down for them.”
The food bank also is unique in that it helps residents with dietary restrictions. Items low in salt, sugars and fats are not mandated in state-funded programs, but Gleaners is proud to offer some of those options.
“We allow for healthier eating choices,” Heery said. “It is not cheap to eat healthy foods. Working closely with local farmers, Marburger Dairy, and, of course, the food drives like the Sunrise Rotary one, all helps us provide healthier foods for those who need it.”
Gleaners accepts non-perishable food, paper products, personal hygiene items and money. Non-perishable donations may be left in St. Ferdinand’s church lobby in the box marked “Gleaners.” Monetary donations may be made payable to "Gleaners Food Bank.”