LAKEWOOD RANCH — It’s not the first time Lakewood Ranch residents Don O’Leary, Richard Lozier and Dick Moran have spent their weekends shuffling in and out of a car, toting heavy bags and trying to cram as many cans of food as possible into their vehicle.
But you won’t hear the Edgewater residents complaining.
The men couldn’t be more eager to help stock the shelves of the Food Bank of Manatee, by hosting a food drive throughout the Lakewood Ranch community.
“It reminds you of what you have, relative to what other people don’t have,” Lozier said of the food drive.
Between now and Dec. 22, the men will be driving throughout Lakewood Ranch to pick up donations of non-perishable food items, as well as monetary contributions, for the Food Bank of Manatee. The Food Bank distributes food to more than 100 partner agencies and doled out about 3.4 million pounds of food in 2011.
Residents interested in participating in the drive should leave their non-perishable donations at the curb at the entrance to their driveway on their community’s specified day (see schedule). Items will be picked up between 10 a.m. and noon. Individuals wishing to donate money can leave a note attached to their bag, and organizers will pick up those donations at the door.
Lozier and O’Leary will collect items in the Edgewater community Nov. 24, while O’Leary and Moran will take on the rest of the community — Lakewood Ranch Community Development Districts 1, 2, 4, 5 and 6 — between Dec. 1 and Dec. 22.
“I’ve always been a big fan of the Food Bank,” said Moran, who began helping with the drive about four years ago. “I’m absolutely thrilled to (help).”
O’Leary started the food drive about eight years ago, after the idea “popped into my head one day,” he said.
“There are people out of work now,” O’Leary said. “It’s getting hard. The Food Bank was almost broke in July and August. Contributions are much needed.”
Although non-perishable donations are greatly appreciated, Moran also said financial contributions are needed, because the Food Bank can buy food for as little as six cents per pound.
“They can do so much more with the money,” Moran said. “They can buy so much (with it).”
The men hope to beat totals raised last year, with goals to collect $10,000 and 5,000 pounds of food for the Food Bank.
Contact Pam Eubanks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Donated items should be left in a bag by the curb, at the entrance to your driveway. If you’d like to make a financial contribution, attach a note to the bag and organizers will come to the door. Donations will be collected between 10 am. and noon on the following dates:
• Nov. 24 — Edgewater
• Dec. 1 — CDD 2
• Dec. 8 — CDD 5
• Dec. 9 — CDD 6
• Dec. 15 — CDD 1
• Dec. 22 — CDD 4
For cash, checks or food market gift certificates, please call Don O’Leary at 907-1227 or 724-1304, or Dick Moran at 907-6999, for pickup at your door.
Meals on Wheels collection boxes also are at various locations throughout the community, including Lakewood Ranch Town Hall, MGA Insurance and the headquarters for Schroeder-Manatee Ranch.