Support Neighbors in Need During Statewide Food Drive

MANHATTAN, Kan. - Kansas Wheat is teaming up with the Kansas Department of Agriculture and Dillon's Food Stores to provide 100,000 meals for Kansas families in need, through the Neighbor to Neighbor food drive.

The Neighbor to Neighbor statewide food drive will help support Kansas neighbors in need and reduce hunger in Kansas communities. Harvesters - the Community Food Bank in Topeka, Kan. hosted state leaders, including Governor Sam Brownback and Acting Secretary of Agriculture Jackie McClaskey, representatives of the food banks of Kansas, Dillon's Food Stores employees, and members of the Kansas agriculture community, including Kansas Wheat representative Marsha Boswell, on March 3 to launch the event.

"As partners in the Kansas agricultural community, Kansas Wheat Commission and Kansas Association of Wheat Growers encourage Kansans to join forces in this worthwhile cause," said Marsha Boswell director of communications for Kansas Wheat. "We hope you will join us in supporting your neighbors in need and making a donation to the Neighbor to Neighbor food drive."

The food drive is a collaborative effort by the Kansas Department of Agriculture, Dillon's Food Stores, Harvesters - The Community Food Network, Kansas Food Bank, Second Harvest Community Food Bank and the Kansas agriculture community. The goal is to raise 100,000 meals for Kansas families during the food drive that will run March 3-25, ending on Kansas Agriculture Day.

Kansans can contribute to the campaign by making a monetary or food donation at Dillon's Food Stores or at other locations in communities across the state. The most needed items are cereal, peanut butter, canned meat, canned fruit and soup.

"Because all donations stay in the respective areas they were contributed, you really are supporting your neighbors in need," said Boswell. "While you are grocery shopping, consider purchasing a few items and dropping them in the barrels."

Kansas Wheat Spokespersons and other ag representatives are working in Dillon's Food Stores in Topeka and Junction City on Saturday, March 8. Visit Donna Martinson in Junction City or Kris Wallace in North Topeka to make a donation and learn more about the nutritional benefits of wheat products.

On March 3, Governor Brownback teamed up with staff from the three food banks, Secretary McClaskey and representatives from Dillon's Food Stores. Members of the Kansas agriculture industry, including Kansas FFA officers and commodity organization representatives also participated. The teams boxed food items for Kansans in need. Governor Brownback's team put together 105 of boxes in 15 minutes; however, the second team lead by Marsha Boswell of Kansas Wheat filled 112 boxes. The boxes will be distributed to low-income elderly recipients and included items like shelf-stable milk, whole wheat pasta, canned beef, cereal and an assortment of canned fruits and beans.

According to the Kansas Food Bank more than 433,000 Kansans are "food insecure."

Dillon's Food Stores made an initial donation of 6,400 pounds of non-perishable food items at the kick-off event on Monday. These food items will be on display in the Kansas State Capitol March 3-25. To learn more about the Neighbor to Neighbor statewide food drive and ways to participate, visit agriculture.ks.gov/ksagday. Follow along with the conversation during Kansas Ag Week and the Neighbor to Neighbor food drive via Twitter #n2nks and #ksagday.

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