By MARK TODD - firstname.lastname@example.org
A Monroe Township church has launched a food drive with a two-part mission: To help feed hungry families and to help foster good feelings between the township and the city of Conneaut to the north.
Youth members of the Monroe Township United Methodist Church on Feb. 3, which also just happened to be the day of a certain iconic sports event. "We called it our Soup-er Bowl," joked the Rev. Samara Jenkins, church pastor.
The campaign continues through February. On March 4, the goods the youngsters collect will be distributed between the Conneaut Food Pantry and a pantry operated by the 10 churches that are members of the Council for Dynamic Rural Ministries, which includes the Monroe UMC, Jenkins said.
People can bring their donations of non-perishable food items to any of these drop-off locations in the area: Ramblin Rose Alpaca Farm, Bushnell Store, Dave and Donna's Sweet Shop, Snap Fitness (Conneaut location) and the Orlando Brothers Golden Dawn supermarket.
Folks who contribute five or more items at the Sweet Shop location will receive a free chocolate bar, Jenkins said.
February was picked for the campaign because pantry inventories, which jump during the holidays, are starting to shrink, Jenkins said. The initiative is also designed to help improve relations with better relations with neighbors to the north, she said.
"We want the communities to realize what we do in mission," Jenkins said. "We want to bridge that divide."
The food drive is one of eight church youth projects planned way back last summer. Most recently, the younger parishioners collected hats, coats and gloves for needy families, Jenkins said.