Donations being accepted for food drive

Published: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 3:01 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 3:01 p.m.

You can help make sure no child goes hungry during the winter break by opening up your heart and wallet to support the Alachua County Public Schools Winter Break Food Drive 2012.



What: Donations are needed for the Alachua County Public Schools Winter Break Food Drive 2012.
When: Deadline is Dec. 14.
Where: Education Foundation of Alachua County, 1725 SE 1st Ave.; Lincoln Middle School, 1001 SE 12th St.; Terwilliger Elementary, 301 NW 62nd St., and Chiles Elementary School, 2525 Schoolhouse Road.
Information: Call 352-955-6900.

—Canned sweet potatoes
—Black beans
—Stuffing mix
—Instant potatoes
—Canned fruit/fruit cups/fruit snacks
—Canned vegetables
—Cake mix and frosting
—Oatmeal, grits
—Ravioli, Spaghetti-O’s, etc.
—$10 gift cards
—Non-refrigerated hams
—Instant milk or boxed milk
—Bag rice
—Macaroni and cheese
—Boxed meals with meat
—Spaghetti noodles and jar sauce
—Peanut butter and jelly
—Canned soup
—Snack Pack pudding

The winter break runs from Dec. 20-Jan. 3.

Kelly Kostamo, a partnership specialist at Partners in Education for Alachua County Public Schools, said community members, business partners and individuals are being asked to provide food and/or monetary donations so that 540 food boxes can be distributed to the neediest families.

Sponsored by the Education Foundation of Alachua County Inc., the deadline to make donations is Dec. 14.

Kostamo said the majority of the food boxes will go to elementary students, with some going to middle and high school students. Kostamo said individual schools evaluate need and choose the families that will receive the food boxes and provide Kostamo with a wish list.

This year, Kostamo said, the schools have asked for 540 food boxes.

"We're serving the neediest, but there are other families that need help," said Kostamo, adding that in Alachua County Public Schools more than half of the 27,000 students are enrolled in the free and reduced lunch program.

Donations to the Winter Break Food Drive 2012, now in its eighth year, can be dropped off at the Education Foundation of Alachua County at 1725 SE 1st Ave., Lincoln Middle School at 1001 SE 12th St., Terwilliger Elementary School at 301 NW 62nd St., and Chiles Elementary School at 2525 Schoolhouse Road, off Tower Road.

"Everyone gets exactly the same things and the boxes are the same size," said Kostamo, adding that the program has grown from 23 boxes the first year to the current 540 boxes.

Kostamo said each box will contain about $54 in food, including a $10 supermarket gift card to be used for milk and fresh vegetables.

Alachua County residents can help in several ways.

They can donate some or all of the items on the list or make a contribution in any amount with a check made payable to the Education Foundation of Alachua County Inc., 1725 SE 1st Ave., Gainesville, FL 32641. Please include in the memo field "Food Basket Project."

Online donations can be made from the foundation's website at by clicking on "DONATE" then choosing the Paypal link under "Christmas Food Baskets."

"In today's tough economic climate, many families are having a harder time feeding their children," Kostamo said.

"The winter break is a time of added financial stress because of the holidays."

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