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Food drives help to supply Fayette pantries

Nancy Henry | For the Daily Courier
Cara Hileman of Bruner Insurance Agency is adding a nonperishable food item to those being collected at the local office. The donations will be given to the Connellsville Area Community Ministries food pantry. The collection will continue now through Aug. 30, 2013 at the office located at 546 Morrell Ave.

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By Nancy Henry
Tuesday, July 23, 2013, 1:21 a.m.

With the reduction of food provided from the federal government to area food banks, the importance of local food drives has become crucial in their operations.

Chip Rowan, executive director of the Connellsville Area Community Ministries, which operates a local food pantry, said local food drives are necessary to help supplement the local food programs.

The Connellsville Area Community Ministries Food Pantry serves nearly 350 families each month, Rowan noted.

And he's appreciative of all businesses, organizations, clubs, etc. which host local food drives.

One of those local businesses that have come to the aid of the local food pantry is the Bruner Insurance Agency.

The Connellsville business is currently is holding a food drive to benefit Connellsville Area Community Ministries.

Dave Bruner, business owner, said the idea for the drive came from Erie Insurance Exchange district sales manager Mike Fiorina.

“We talked about a way that our local office could help our local community and came up with the food drive initiative with donations going to the food pantry right here in Connelleville,” said Bruner.

The program, which has already kicked off, runs through Aug. 30.

Nonperishable food items can be dropped off at the Connellsville business located at 546 Morrell Ave. Those who drop off food items will become eligible to win a $100 Sheetz gift card.

“We thought if we offered a gift card drawing it would give people a reason to drop off items, in addition to knowing that they are helping the less fortunate through the Community Ministries food pantry. Items are being collected in our reception area and are starting to get stacked up. We've been announcing the food drive on our Facebook page. Many of our customers come in to the office to pay their bills, so they have seen the display and they have been very generous,” said Bruner.

Bruner stresses that this is not a sales tool — this is simply an act of goodwill that allows the agency to give back to the community.

Erie agreed that if the Bruner Insurance Agency sponsored and headed up the food drive locally, Erie would donate $1,000 directly to the Community Ministries food pantry at the conclusion of the project.

“It's nice to see a corporation making a $1,000 donation and it is nice to see people getting involved by bringing the food in for giving. Maybe this way community residents will become aware and continue giving throughout the year by taking donations right over to Community Ministries on Crawford Avenue,” said Bruner.

Rowan said there is a great need for nonperishable items to keep the pantry stocked.

“The staff here in the office has been very supportive, helping to set up the display and bringing in items for the collection. My daughter Emily, who is home from St. Vincent College for the summer, has been heading up the project and trying to get the word out,” said Bruner.

“We really appreciate Bruner Insurance conducting the food drive for Connellsville Area Community Ministries,” said Rowan. “With the reduction of food provided from the federal government it is crucial for us to collect as much food locally as possible.”

“We are a part of the community and we make our living from the community so when we have a chance to help here in our community we try to do that. We sponsor a lot of sports teams and different things like that. We appreciate the public for getting involved with our project,” said Bruner.

Those with questions can call 724-628-3760.

Nancy Henry is a contributing writer.

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