Bags of Plenty nets 279,860 pounds of food But drive for the needy falls short of cash goal

December 20, 1997|By Ernest F. Imhoff | Ernest F. Imhoff,SUN STAFF

The 11th annual Bags of Plenty food drive for the needy in Maryland fell one-third short of its cash goal, but collected the most food since its early years.

The campaign from Nov. 11 to Dec. 6 raised $40,819 -- about $20,000 short of the goal and the $59,000 raised last year, said Robert J. Hess, president of the Maryland Food Committee.

Donors gave 279,860 pounds of nonperishable food, which was almost 38,000 pounds more than the 241,910 pounds given last year, said Bill Ewing, executive director of the Maryland Food Bank.

A Mass Transit Administration bus parked at Perring Parkway and Joppa Road to collect donations was stuffed with 37,000 pounds of food, compared with 21,000 pounds last year.

"The public likes food drives," Ewing said. "There is a constant fight for finite dollars. Food is more personal. People get caught up in giving something for the dinner table."

Cash gifts were far below the early years of Bags of Plenty. In its first few years, the drive raised more than $100,000 several times and one year reached $140,000. Cash dwindled to $40,000 in 1995. Hess said the cash shortfall is "a concern" because food needs of the unemployed and the working poor are increasing. )) The cash is used to support programs that promote self-sufficiency and educational programs as well as to buy food.

Hess said the need shown by statistics from Maryland food kitchens and pantries has increased 20 percent for each of the past few years. He also noted an estimate in this week's report by UNICEF, the United Nations Children's Fund, on global child malnutrition that one in four children under age 12 in the United States cannot get enough to eat.

"It's not too late to give," Hess said. Checks may be sent to Bags of Plenty, P.O. Box 75164, Baltimore 21275-5164.

Pub Date: 12/20/97

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