MANSFIELD -- Laura Burns remembers when people made a joint effort to meet one of her family's needs.
"My dad didn't have a job for awhile when I was a little girl, and our church held a food drive for us," she said. "I just remember the look on my parents' face when they saw all of the food."
Burns treasures that memory and to this day thinks canned corn is the "most delicious thing in the world," she said.
Now she, and many others, have the opportunity to "pay it forward" with the School's Out Food Drive. Burns is a field organizer with Moms Clean Air Force, which is holding this food drive through the end of June.
Moms Clean Air Force chapters in Alaska, California, Montana, New Mexico, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Virginia, Florida, and the District of Columbia will be collecting food to help feed hungry families.
Burns said the local Moms Clean Air Force chapter is partnering with the North End Community Improvement Collaborative to help determine where the donations will be distributed in Richland County.
"Too many kids are hungry, and when you're hungry, you can't learn, you can't make good choices, you can't even be a kid," Burns said. "And already, we have kids with breathing problems who are suffering through the summer because of the heat and humidity, and then to add in hunger, it's just not fair that they have to live like that."
According to Dominique Browning, Moms Clean Air Force’s co-founder and Senior Director, 94 percent of children in America suffering from food insecurity are provided healthy food through the National School Lunch program each school day.
“We heard from our members and partners across the country that there is a need for additional food for the children during summer months when school is out in the communities in which we work each day," Browning said. "As an organization dedicated to the health of children, this is an issue we can’t ignore.”
Collection bins have been placed at Berean Baptist Church and Little Buckeye Children's Museum, where people may drop off nonperishable food items. Burns noted that items food banks don't often receive are breakfast foods, such as cereal, toaster pastries or canned fruit. If interested in making a monetary donation to the food drive, contact Pastor Steve Storkel of Berean Baptist Church at 419-756-3300.
Burns hopes that through this food drive, more people will become aware of an issue plaguing many local families -- the issue of food insecurity -- and that community members join together to help remedy this problem.
"What is the point of being in community if you can't see and meet each other's needs?" she asked.