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Food drive aims to collect 10,000 pounds of groceries

The Rogue Valley’s largest annual community food and fund drive has a goal to collect 10,000 pounds of food and $30,000 to support ACCESS food programs.

The 37th annual Food for Hope drive runs through Dec. 31.

“There is so much need for food in our community right now. The Food for Hope food and fund drive helps ACCESS stock up our food bank’s shelves so we can get it to hungry families struggling this holiday season and into the new year,” said Carrie Borgen, executive director for the nonprofit organization.

So far this year, ACCESS has assembled and distributed more than 55,000 emergency food boxes in response to the need made worse by the COVID-19 pandemic and devastating wildfires in Jackson County.

People can donate food or make a financial contribution to the Food for Hope drive. “This year’s drive is a little different because of the pandemic. We want to make it as easy as possible for people to help,” said ACCESS Food Programs Director Marcee Champion.

Instead of grocery bags, donation envelopes will be inserted this year into Wednesday’s Mail Tribune and Ashland Tidings, and the Savor food and drink publication.

For those who would like to donate food, Food for Hope grocery bags can be picked up at Food 4 Less and Sherm’s Thunderbird markets. The bags can be filled with nonperishable food items and dropped off at Food 4 Less, 2230 Biddle Road, Medford; Sherm’s Thunderbird, 2347 W. Main St., Medford; or ACCESS, 3630 Aviation Way, Medford.

Wish list items include cold and hot cereals, peanut butter, canned meat including tuna and chicken, pasta and canned goods such as soup, vegetables and fruit. Hygiene items are also needed, including shampoo, conditioner, deodorant, toothpaste and toothbrushes.

In 2019, ACCESS distributed more than 5.3 million pounds of food and fed more than 38,000 residents — or almost one-in-five Jackson County residents.

ACCESS services include help finding affordable housing, rental assistance, utility assistance, weatherization and loans of durable medical equipment.

For more information about the food and fund drive or to make an online donation, seeaccesshelps.org/foodforhope.

If you are having trouble meeting your own food needs, visit the website or call 541-779-6691. To volunteer, call 541-774-4315.