(Posted Nov. 1, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
The 2nd Annual “Bee the Change” food drive was a huge success, bringing in more than 14,000 non-perishable items for food pantries and programs around Madison County. That total eclipsed last year’s collection of 4,649 items.
Coordinated by Mount Sterling Mayor Marci Darlington, the drive coincided with World Food Day and Make A Difference Day. As she did last year, Darlington put forth a friendly challenge to the mayors of Plain City, London, and West Jefferson to join Mount Sterling in competing to see whose town could collect the most food. Collection dates ran Oct. 15-21.
This year, first-place honors went to Plain City which, thanks to a partnership with Jonathan Alder Local Schools, pulled in a whopping 12,400 food items and $830 in cash donations.
“We had great participation from our school district, especially the elementary school,” said Plain City Mayor Jody Carney, adding that the village is sponsoring an ice cream party for the class that brought in the most items.
Plain City had their eye on London, last year’s winner of the food drive and this year’s winner of the cross-county high school football rivalry.
“All of us together wanted to beat London because of our football rivalry. That fueled our motivation,” she said, chuckling.
Plain City’s food collection will be split between the Plain City Food Pantry and Hope’s Lantern, a non-profit that packs shelf-stable meals and snacks for Jonathan Alder students to take home on weekends.
London collected approximately 800 items this year. Those donations will be split between HELP House Community Outreach and the Madison County Food Pantry.
Mount Sterling collected 522 items and $232 in cash donations, up 43 percent over last year’s effort. Their donations are going to the food pantry at the Mount Sterling Community Center.
West Jefferson collected 205 items which will go to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry.
Darlington called this results “amazing” and said she hopes the county’s mayors are up for doing it again next year, even though she is not running for re-election.
“I hope it carries on because I think it’s a good thing,” she said. “The mayors working together on things like this is a reflection of the cooperation we have in the county.”