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ACCESS in need of a holiday boost

Holiday season food and financial donations to ACCESS are noticeably down, and officials at the Jackson County food distribution nonprofit are hoping for a much-needed boost.

ACCESS nutrition director Philip Yates says ACCESS has collected about $4,500 and 6,000 pounds of food since the 31st Annual Food For Hope drive kicked off the Monday before Thanksgiving. The group's original goal was to collect $40,000 in donations and 30,000 pounds of food by Dec. 31.

"Both of them are down," Yates said. "Often, people start thinking about donations a bit closer to Christmas. We're still 2½ weeks out. My hope is we can get people to donate. It's certainly our intent for the food to be able to see us into the new year."

The 2013 drive netted close to $37,000 and about 30,000 pounds of food, good enough for 45,000 emergency food boxes for families across Jackson County. This year's goals were based on how much was given in 2013 and in other previous drives.

Highly sought items include non-perishable proteins like canned meat, tuna and peanut butter, fruits and vegetables and hygiene products.

Parties can fill up a grocery bag of donations and drop the bag off at any Jackson County fire station, or any Jackson County Umpqua Bank. They can also drop off at the Mail Tribune, 111 N. Fir St.; Food 4 Less, 2230 Biddle Road; Sherm's Thunderbird, 2347 W. Main St.; the Medford Congregational Church, 1801 E. Jackson St.; Ascension Lutheran, 675 Black Oak Drive; Westminster Presbyterian, 2000 Oakwood Drive; or First Christian Church, 1900 Crater Lake Ave.

Monetary donations can also be made online at www.accesshelps.org.

Reach reporter Ryan Pfeil at 541-776-4468 or rpfeil@mailtribune.com. Follow him at www.twitter.com/ryanpfeil.