TOLEDO, Ohio — Friday night was our last Pack a Pickup of the season, an event where surrounding schools rally in a friendly competition to collect donations for the Toledo SeaGate Food Bank of Northwest Ohio.
The need for food right now is very real, so Pack a Pickup has been more important than ever.
"Especially during the pandemic, most people have had some sort of slip up and finances coming in. All the high volume right now in our pantries is requiring a lot much more food," said Andrew Whitcomb, the warehouse manager of the SeaGate Food Bank.
The food bank, in partnership with WTOL 11 and Charlie's Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram, asks high schools in the area to donate food for those most in need every year during Pack a Pickup.
And the response this year has been huge.
"Kinda caught us a little bit by surprise this year. It's definitely a good surprise. This year we've collected almost 43,000 pounds [of food], just in this ten-week collection that we're doing," said Whitcomb.
Compare that with last year when they collected just about 17,000 pounds. The year before that, it was a little over 26,000 pounds of food.
And guess who's been able to collect the most?
St. John's and St. Francis schools gathered about 30,000 pounds worth of food for Pack a Pickup.
The food all goes right back to the same locations that have collected the food.
"Lot of these pantries are needing twice, if not more than that, the amount of food that they normally would. Just because so many people need that extra help in their cabinet, need that extra help at home," said Whitcomb.
Whitcomb says they look forward to this event because it brings in more variety for people in need to choose from.
That need includes hygiene products and different foods that a family can't afford.
You can donate to the Toledo SeaGate Food Bank of Northwest Ohio all year round by visiting its location at 526 High St. or by calling 419-244-6996.
There is also a big need for volunteers as we head into the holidays and winter months.