Food drives add up in fight against hunger

House of Hope is on pace to exceed the half-million pounds of food it distributed last year to Martin County residents in need.

At the half-way mark of 2015, the total of food distributed was 332,316 pounds. That’s the equivalent of ​about ​27​7,000​ nutritionally balanced meals to local people in need.

House of Hope services touch the lives of about 5,000 ​Martin County residents per month. About ​a third ​of the people helped ​are children, and the summer months have been busy​ with kids out of school​. In June, House of Hope’s food pantries – in Stuart, Hobe Sound, Indiantown and Jensen Beach – distributed a record total of 63,883 pounds of food.

Black Belt Academy fund-raiser

From left: Master Amy Reed; House of Hope’s Dawn Abate; Chancellor O’Bryant, the leading fund-raiser​ at the Black Belt Academy​; and Sensei Jason Reed.

About two-thirds of the food House of Hope receives is donated. Many generous neighborhoods, organizations and individuals ​conduct food drives to collect ​​canned and dry goods. Th​ese staples are ​combined with meat, produce and other fresh food acquired by House of Hope.

Some staples are in short supply​ right now​, notably pasta sauce and jelly. Food drives and individual donations of food are always welcome.

Here are just a few​ examples​ of the​ food- and fund-raisers that have recently benefited House of Hope:

– Young Taekwondo students at the Master Amy Reed Black Belt Academy in Stuart conducted a creative campaign in which the students sought sponsors and then used their skills to break boards. The “Give Them a Break” fund-raiser collected $1,512.

Marasco ranch food drive

Jerry and Donna Marasco with some of the food collected during their summer camp.

Marasco Ranch in Palm City conducted a food drive during summer camp, collecting 638 pounds of food.

– The offices of the Martin County Tax Collector, Ruth Pietruszewski, added to their year-round food​ bin collections​, bringing the total to 429 pounds.

St. Joseph Catholic Church in Stuart conducts a food drive on several weekends throughout the year. The ​collection in July ​resulted in 1,605 pounds of food and $196. ​Since last September, the parishioners have donated a grand total of 14,327 pounds.

Lt. Col. Tom Bridges of Palm City donated 525 pounds of food in July. He regularly purchases food for House of Hope in tribute to someone the agency helped in the past​.​

For information about conducting a food drive, please visit ​​hohmartin.org/food or call (772) 286-4673, ext. 1011.