(Posted Oct. 9, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
A friendly competition among towns in Madison County will leave one town with bragging rights and, more importantly, provide food to people in need.
The “Bee the Difference” food drive, now in its second year, has the communities of London, Mount Sterling, Plain City, and West Jefferson each vying to collect the most non-perishable food items to benefit local food pantries. Collection week is set for Oct. 15-21. The timing coincides with World Food Day and Make a Difference Day.
The competition is the brainchild of Marci Darlington, mayor of Mount Sterling. For years, she has organized charitable efforts around Make A Difference Day. Last year, she got the idea to get her fellow mayors involved, asking them to promote and organize food collections in their communities. The inaugural competition went really well–4,649 items were collected among the four towns, with London taking the crown for collecting the most items.
“Last year’s efforts were amazing, and I’m hoping for the same enthusiasm as last year,” said Darlington, who is keeping with the “bee” theme she used last year, working to create “buzz” for the competition.
In London, non-perishable food items and cash donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 16-20 at city hall, 20 S. Walnut St. To make arrangements to drop off donations outside those hours, call (740) 852-3243. London’s collections will be split between HELP House Community Outreach and the Madison County Food Pantry.
In Mount Sterling, non-perishable food items, personal hygiene items, and monetary donations can be dropped off between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Oct. 16-20 at town hall, 1 S. London St. Additionally, Darlington will accept items at town hall from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Oct. 15 and Oct. 21. Monetary donations can be cash or checks made out to the Mount Sterling Community Center for their food pantry. All collections will go to the center’s food pantry. For more information, call (740) 869-2040.
In Plain City, non-perishable food items can be dropped off anytime Oct. 15-21 at the municipal building, 800 Village Blvd. Collection bins will be located in the lobby which is open at all times. Cash donations (in sealed, marked envelopes) can be inserted into the drop box at the municipal building or dropped off at the front desk during business hours. All collections will be split between the Plain City Food Pantry and Hope’s Lantern, a non-profit that packs shelf-stable food to send home with students in the Jonathan Alder School District.
In West Jefferson, non-perishable food items can be dropped off at town hall, 28 E. Main St., between 8 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Oct. 16-20. Several other locations around town will have food collection boxes, as well. Collections will go to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry. Among the most needed items are peanut butter, canned meats, and soups. Monetary donations should be made directly to the pantry.