Holiday food drive under way


Bags of Plenty, the state's largest canned food drive, will try to prove this year that less is more.

The eighth annual campaign, which began yesterday, will run for only one week, winding up the Sunday before Thanksgiving. Organizers hope the shorter timetable, down from three weeks in previous years, will give the campaign a sense of urgency.

"In the hustle and bustle of the holiday season, our message tended to blend in with other Thanksgiving and Christmas activities," said Craig Rocklin, development director of the Maryland Food Committee, which runs Bags of Plenty as a joint project with the Maryland Food Bank. "By shortening the campaign we hope to draw more attention to the immediate need of hungry families and to urge people to give right now."

Donations will be used to help an estimated 20,000 hungry people at 900 soup kitchens and food pantries statewide.

Last year, at a time when most local fund-raisers reported problems, Bags of Plenty fell well short of its goal to raise 435,000 pounds and $130,000. This year, the goal is to raise 300,000 pounds of food by Sunday, and $150,000 by year's end.

The official kickoff will be held today at the Giant Food store at 4622 Wilkens Ave., where middle school students from Beth Tfiloh and Trinity will face off in a "Hunger IQ."

Those who want to contribute a bag of nonperishable food to Bags of Plenty can take donations to Giant stores, Signet Bank offices, Mr. Tire, city fire stations and WMAR-News Channel 2. Checks can be mailed to Bags of Plenty, P.O. Box 75164, Baltimore 21275-5164.

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