ELKHORN — The Walworth County Food Pantry is celebrating its biggest food drive ever after a countywide effort yielded more than three tons of donations.
“It was just massive,” food pantry managing director Susan Hughes said. “It was amazing.”
The food drive launched in April brought together schools, police departments and retail stores throughout the county.
Donations were collected for one week inside Badger High School in Lake Geneva and many other schools in Lake Geneva and elsewhere. Police departments then gathered the school donations and combined them with donations collected at the police departments and local retail stores.
When police department representatives turned out April 18 to deliver the food drive results at the food pantry in Elkhorn, there was more than three tons of food.
Whitewater police officer Shane Brandl said the food drive caught on in school districts throughout Walworth County.
“I can say that the amount of food that we collected is far beyond what we imagined,” Brandl said. “Coordinating food drives at the school districts across the county leading up to the all day event really got the word out and helped lead to our success.”
In addition to Lake Geneva and Whitewater schools and police, the food drive involved participation from Delavan, East Troy, Walworth, Williams Bay, Elkhorn and the Walworth County Sheriff’s Department.
Retail outlets that collected donations included Whitewater Walmart, Delavan Piggly Wiggly, Walworth Sentry, Lake Geneva Piggly Wiggly, East Troy Piggly Wiggly and Elkhorn Piggly Wiggly.
When all the donations were counted at the food pantry, the total was 6,704 pounds — the most ever in a single food drive since the pantry opened 10 years ago.
Located at 205 E. Commerce Court in Elkhorn, the food pantry serves about 1,300 people a month and distributes about 62,000 pound of food a month. The pantry is also part of a larger regional food bank network.
Hughes said the biggest previous food drive that she could recall is a yearly post office drive that generally produces about 2,000 pounds of donations.
The results from the police/school effort filled the pantry’s warehouse as never before, Hughes said. Police officers, she added, brought a positive attitude with them and worked hard in unloading the giant donation.
“The enthusiasm was unbelievable,” she said. “They did it, and they were happy and smiling.”