Public employees collected more than 64,000 pounds of food during the eighth annual countywide “Feed the Need” public employee food drive.
The total for the eight-year program is more than 782,000 pounds.
The City of New Smyrna Beach was the top collector among agencies, with the most food collected, 11,346 pounds, and the most food per full-time employee, 45 pounds.
Other participating organizations were Volusia County Government; Volusia County School Way Café; Florida Health Department in Volusia County; and the cities of Daytona Beach, DeBary, DeLand, Deltona, Edgewater, Holly Hill, Orange City, Ormond Beach, Pierson, Ponce Inlet, Port Orange and South Daytona.
The food drive is coordinated by the county and was the brainchild of former County Manager Jim Dinneen. It continued under the leadership of Interim County Manager George Recktenwald and took place from Nov. 11 to 25 throughout Volusia County as a friendly competition among public employees.
A separate element of the food drive included “Food for Fines” in which library patrons with late fees received a $1 reduction of overdue fines up to $25 for each boxed or canned nonperishable food item they brought to the library. Food for Fines gathered 6,344 pounds of food.
According to Robert Thomas, branch manager of Second Harvest Food Bank of Volusia/Flagler, the 64,000 pounds of food will provide 54,000 meals and feed more than 2,600 families for a week.
The food donation totals were announced during a presentation Dec. 18 to the Volusia County Council in DeLand. The food and funds were distributed to local food pantries, soup kitchens, senior centers, churches and other nonprofit organizations that are working to fight hunger.