The flock of cyclists pedaled from downtown Goshen to the Elkhart County 4-H Fairgrounds on Friday, June 6, to collect food for the Food Bank of Elkhart County housed at Church Community Services in Elkhart. The fair board is trying to collect more than 600,000 pounds of food on July 20 to break a world record for the most food collected by a food drive in 24-hour period. The record is currently held by the North Carolina School of Science and Mathematics Food Drive, which collected 559,885 pounds of food March 5, 2011.
Fair board member Shelley Steury said Friday’s bike ride also promoted the Monroe Street Trail as a new path to the fairgrounds where the board will start weighing food at 1 p.m. July 20 and end the collection 24 hours later. The fair board is accepting donations of unexpired nonperishable food and money to buy food for the drive.
Josi Dehaven rode to the fairgrounds Friday with her 7-year-old son, 9-year-old daughter and her parents. The fair has been part of her life since she was a kid growing up in Goshen. She works with IU Health Goshen Hospital’s outreach program alongside some of the sickest patients. Church Community Services has connected many of the patients there with helpful resources including medication assistance and the food bank.
“They are amazing,” she said.
Church Community Services executive director Rod Roberson is excited about breaking the world record but said the food drive serves an even more important purpose.
“It’s really an opportunity for the whole community to join in and really make this an effort that we believe will be essential to our food supply in the entire county,” he said.
The food bank distributed 1.6 million pounds of food to more than 70 nonprofit organizations, pantries and hot meal sites in Elkhart County in 2013, according to Roberson.
“This serves everyone in the county, everyone from Nappanee to Middlebury to Goshen, Bristol and Elkhart,” he said.
MORE WAYS TO HELP
Mail a donation or drop it off at the fair office, 17746-D C.R. 34 in Goshen. Checks should be made out to Elkhart County 4-H Fair Food Drive.
Drop off food in donation bins set up at Martin’s Supermarkets locations in Elkhart County. The grocery store chain is the food drive’s sponsor.
Follow Elkhart Truth reporter Angelle Barbazon on Twitter at @tweetangelle.