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The Fill a Bag, Feed a Family food collection, aimed at filling the Aurora Food Pantry during the lean summer months, has collected more than 17,000 pounds of food, including donations from local Boy Scouts, according to Fill a Bag, Feed a Family Co-Chair Katie Monroe.
"I think we did a great job," she said. "The pantry is totally full."
The organization set a goal of collecting 26,000 pounds of food, but the 17,000-pound total does not account for fundraising by Aurora High's service learning class. Between donations collected by the class and an anonymous donor who promised a match for cash raised, the program raised $13,685, said Monroe.
That cash donation will translate to one pound of food for each dollar collected, she added, so the drive will benefit from about 30,000 pounds of food.
She said volunteers collected filled food bags from 32 percent of homes where they left bags. Those still interested in donating can call Monroe at 216-233-8470.
This is the third year that Fill a Bag, Feed a Family has taken place,It was founded by Aurora resident Bruce Harris, and supports the Volunteers of American food pantry at Route 43 and Moneta Avenue.
On April 22, volunteers distributed bags to Aurora households, and they were picked up the next Saturday -- April 29. Dozens of volunteers helped with the collection.
In 2016, about 25,000 pounds of food were donated. Local Boy Scout and Cub Scout groups also helped with the drive, asking patrons at the Marketplace at Four Corners to donate food and other items. Since 2004, Scouting for Food has collected and donated more than 50,000 pounds of food and more than $5,000 to the pantry.
"It's certainly been a blessing," said Becky Carlino-Madigan, development director for the Volunteers of America. "With that kind of donation, it alleviates a lot of stess for us."