Bazetta first responders help supply local food pantry

First responders in the Bazetta-Cortland area hosted a food drive to help supply a local food pantry

BAZETTA TOWNSHIP, Ohio (WKBN) – On Saturday, the Bazetta Police and Fire departments held their annual food drive at Walmart, collecting nonperishable items, personal care products and cash donations for needy families in the Bazetta and Cortland area.

This is the sixth year the departments have hosted the “Fill a Cruiser” food drive.

“What we try and do is stock the food pantry prior to the Thanksgiving season because that’s when we get a big call for donations,” said Bazetta Township Police Chief, Michael Hovis.

Christopher Murray Sr. donated canned goods and other food items; it’s his way of giving back.

“It’s good to help out everybody and everyone that is less fortunate,” he said.

Donna Kittle is the president of Cortland Cares food pantry, where all of the donations from Saturday’s event are going.

She says they nearly fill a box truck every year with donations and that the generosity amazes her.

“Cortland Area Cares has been blessed. With the help of Second Harvest Food Bank, we are able to supply people with a lot of food. Not a bag or two. Every family gets at least nine bags,” she said.

Last year, the Second Harvest Food Bank distributed more than 9.5 million pounds of food, or 40,000 pounds a day.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Report says that over 40 food pantries have closed or merged in Ohio since June 2014. This is happening at a time when more families are relying on food pantries.

Kittle says the support of the community and organizations is what keeps them going. She can’t imagine what she would do if Cortland Cares pantry closed.

“That would be devastating because I know people every month, they are counting on us,” Kittle said.

She’ll do whatever it takes to keep it running.

Community donations help the food pantry but support from Second Harvest Food Bank ensures there’s always food on the shelves.

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