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ACCESS heads into final stretch of food drive

Local report

The annual ACCESS Food for Hope drive has surpassed the two-thirds mark in food collected, but the effort still has a ways to go in gathering donations of both food and money to hit its goals by year's end.

Philip Yates, nutrition coordinator for the agency that operates area food pantries, said as of Wednesday morning that food donations totaled 20,932 pounds. Cash donations had reached $23,925. ACCESS  had set a goal raising 30,000 pounds of food and $40,000.

"We would love to get a push here in the last week," said Yates, noting the drive ends Dec. 31. "We're about two-thirds of the way. Maybe we can make it."

Yates noted the monetary donations were particularly important, as ACCESS can leverage ever dollar donated into about 5 pounds of food.

Since ACCESS is a non-profit agency, donors also can benefit from their late-year charitable urges.

"If people are looking for a a contribution before the end of the tax year, this is also an opportunity for them," he said.

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 such as canned meat, tuna and peanut butter, fruits and vegetables and hygiene products.

Donors 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 bags 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 through a secure online site at www.accesshelps.org or by mail to ACCESS Food for Hope, P.O. Box 4666, Medford OR 97501.