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'60 Minutes' drive nets 277 more donors for Medford Food Project

The Medford Food Project signed up 277 new donors Saturday during its "60 Minutes Against Hunger" drive, says organizer John Javna.

The drive put the project at more than 3,000 donors for the first time since it started in February 2011.

"It was a huge leap forward for us and a big step toward a truly sustainable system," Javna said in an email.

Forty-nine teams of canvassers went door-to-door in Medford neighborhoods for one hour Saturday, signing up enough donors to total 3,017.

"We're really looking forward to our December pickup — it will be the biggest we've ever had, and more people will be fed with the Green Bag system than ever before," Javna said.

The Food Project is a simple system in which residents leave a green bag filled with non-perishable food on their doorstep the second Saturday morning of even-numbered months. Food Project organizers pick up the food and leave another green bag for the residents to fill by buying one can of food a week for eight weeks. The food is taken to ACCESS Inc., where it is distributed to local food banks.

The Food Project began in Ashland in 2009 and has since grown to nearly every community in Jackson County and dozens of towns across Oregon and the United States. In December 2013, the Rogue Valley Food Projects surpassed the 1 million-pound mark.