MENTOR, OH (WOIO) - Families in Lake County will be receiving some much needed assistance this Thanksgiving. The United Way distributed 543 turkeys on Wednesday, November 14, to 52 food pantries and residential facilities across the country.
Giant Eagle delivered the 12-to-14-pound turkeys to United Way of Lake County's Mentor office as part of the 2012 Feed Lake County Campaign.
The turkeys were distributed to the food pantries by volunteers from Lake House Men's Residential.
"Over the course of the last few months, we've seen an increase of people using our food pantry. The need definitely has gone up," said Marty Crews, primary coordinator of the St. Bede Food Pantry in Mentor. "The support from the community and United Way has been unbelievable. This is what we depend on, especially during the holidays. If we didn't have United Way to get these turkeys, we wouldn't be able to provide turkeys for our clients. The generosity of United Way and the community has been fantastic.
Overall, the 2012 Feed Lake County Campaign raised approximately 45,188 pounds of food and $62,000 in cash. Cash donations to Feed Lake County are used throughout the year to make purchases for the food pantries.
The majority of the food donations were distributed to food pantries in April however there will be another purchase and distribution before Christmas.
The food pantries continue to see an increase in numbers. Last year, more than 6,000 people used the food pantry system and between 700 and 1,100 residents needed help on a weekly basis. These food pantries report they are seeing 10 to 20 new visitors each week. Many first time social service clients are 40 to 50 years old, have lost their jobs, exhausted their benefits and are looking desperately for somewhere to turn.