In the past year, the number of families the PCMA Food Pantry of Pickerington has served has nearly tripled.
During the month of October alone, 98 families sought assistance from the pantry, Director Dianna Kassouf said.
"I think some of it is due to the recession and people losing their jobs," Kassouf said. "I think some of the people would normally not find themselves in these circumstances. I think one of the reasons also is people are finding out that we exist."
The food pantry is funded solely through donations from the community, and to help offset the rising costs of assisting more and more families, the pantry will once again hold its annual Plaza of Lights Holiday Fundraiser this year.
In its second year, the fundraiser’s theme is "Give a Little, Light a Light, Change a Life."
For a minimum donation of $5, residents can sponsor a light on the strings of lights decorating the trees outside the food pantry in the nearby plaza. For $125, residents, groups, businesses and families can sponsor a whole string of lights.
As the donations come in, additional plaza lights will begin to glow, representing the community’s commitment to those in need.
Last year’s Plaza of Lights collected nearly $20,000 to keep the pantry operating. This year, the goal is $21,000.
"The best way people can help is to participate in the fundraiser," Kassouf said. "This basically helps fund us during the winter months and during the year."
The Pickerington Public Library also will accept non-perishable food items for the food pantry during the holiday season. Items may be dropped off during regular library hours.
For other ways to donate, go to www.pcmafoodpantry.com. Donations may be mailed to PCMA Food Pantry, P.O. Box 914, Pickerington, OH 43147.
For more information, call (614) 834-0079.