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'Love Thy Neighbor' food drive gearing up
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A locally-owned passenger transportation, errand and courier service and the local food cooperative are partnering up for the third year to challenge area businesses and other local organizations in a food fundraiser for local food pantries.

Get2it, Inc., and the Food Outreach Cooperative of Effingham (FORCE) are teaming up with the Effingham Court Services Office of the Department of Juvenile Justice for the  “Love Thy Neighbor” campaign to help re-stock local food pantries’ shelves with nonperishable food items, personal hygiene items and cleaning products after the holidays.

“Many families struggle with making means meet,” said Bonnie Dixon, managing director of the United Way of the Coastal Empire Effingham Service Center. “The number of unemployed or under-employed adults continues to rise. Being able to access supplemental food through the Effingham food pantries is a tremendous help to families in Effingham.”

In 2012, the six local food pantries served an average of 925 families a month in Effingham County, said Archie Jenkins, coordinator of the FORCE program.

FORCE is a collaborative made up of representatives from local churches, the school system, businesses, nonprofit organizations, civic clubs and various health and human service agencies across the county.

“FORCE works to ensure everyone in need of food assistance receives food,” Jenkins said. “In addition, through fundraising efforts and food drives, FORCE works throughout the year to help keep the pantries shelves well-stocked.”

The Love Thy Neighbor campaign will run through the end of February and will benefit GLOW Ministries, God’s Mission House, Manna House, Rincon First Christian, the Fill’n Station, Abundant Life, and Treutlen House.

Food donations can be dropped off at the Department of Juvenile Justice, at 508 N. Pine Street, in Springfield. To coordinate a food pick up, contact David with Get2iT, Inc., Passenger Transportation, Errand and Courier Services at 754-6160.

If you would like to participate in the Love Thy Neighbor challenge, contact Melisa or David Bragg, owners of GET2iT at 754-6160 or Archie Jenkins, FORCE coordinator, at 663-2286 or the Department of Juvenile Justice at 754-6223. GET2iT will pick up donations and carry them to respective pantry locations.