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BuzzALACHUA COUNTY – With many more families in need this year, Alachua County Public Schools is seeking donations for its annual Alachua County Public Schools Food Drive.

Last year, more than 500 public school families receive food baskets thanks to the generosity of local businesses, churches, clubs and other groups and individuals. The need is particularly great during the two-week holiday break, which runs from Dec. 19 through Jan. 2.

“Unfortunately, many families are dependent on the school lunch program to feed their kids every day, and when school is out, it becomes a real struggle,” said Kelley Kostamo, the district’s business partnerships coordinator and organizer of the food basket drive. “Today’s tough economic climate is making that situation even worse.”

The district is collecting boxes that include the same basic food items, which are listed below. Anyone interested in participating in the program has a number of options. They can donate specific items from the list below, gather an entire box containing all the items or provide a cash or check donation. Filling an entire box costs $55.

“Especially at this time of year, people don’t have a lot of free time,” said Kostamo. “If they’d rather contribute the funds, we’re very happy to go out and purchase the items needed to fill a box.”

Checks in any amount may be made out to the Alachua County Public Schools Foundation and sent to 1725 SE 1st Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32641. Donors should include ‘Food Drive’ on the memo line. The deadline for submitting food or cash donations is Friday, Dec. 9.

Food items can be dropped off at Chiles and Terwilliger elementary schools and Lincoln and Westwood  middle schools. They can also be dropped off at the School Board headquarters at the Kirby Smith Building, 620 East University Avenue. Pick up can also be arranged by contacting Kostamo at kostamkb@gm.sbac.edu or by phone at 352-955-6900. Donations must be received by the end of the day on Dec. 9 to give the district and schools time to distribute the boxes to the families.

For anyone inclined to include additional items, some suggestions include: another breakfast cereal • snack pack pudding • additional canned meals (ravioli, etc.) • individual fruit cups • raisins • fruit snacks. Grocery gift cards to buy fresh milk or produce are also appreciated.

Each box will contain the following items: 2 large cans of sweet potatoes, instant or boxed milk, cranberry sauce, bag of rice, stuffing mix, 3 boxes of macaroni and cheese, instant potatoes, box meal with meat (i.e. Hamburger Helper), jar of gravy, spaghetti noodles and a jar of sauce, 4 cans fruit, peanut butter, 4 cans vegetables, jar of jelly, cake mix/can of frosting, 3 cans of soup, grits, oatmeal or pancake mix, $10 gift card or non-refrigerated ham, 1 large can of Ravioli, Spaghetti-o’s, etc.

BuzzALACHUA COUNTY – With many more families in need this year, Alachua County Public Schools is seeking donations for its annual Alachua County Public Schools Food Drive.

Last year, more than 500 public school families receive food baskets thanks to the generosity of local businesses, churches, clubs and other groups and individuals. The need is particularly great during the two-week holiday break, which runs from Dec. 19 through Jan. 2.

“Unfortunately, many families are dependent on the school lunch program to feed their kids every day, and when school is out, it becomes a real struggle,” said Kelley Kostamo, the district’s business partnerships coordinator and organizer of the food basket drive. “Today’s tough economic climate is making that situation even worse.”

The district is collecting boxes that include the same basic food items, which are listed below. Anyone interested in participating in the program has a number of options. They can donate specific items from the list below, gather an entire box containing all the items or provide a cash or check donation. Filling an entire box costs $55.

“Especially at this time of year, people don’t have a lot of free time,” said Kostamo. “If they’d rather contribute the funds, we’re very happy to go out and purchase the items needed to fill a box.”

Checks in any amount may be made out to the Alachua County Public Schools Foundation and sent to 1725 SE 1st Avenue, Gainesville, FL 32641. Donors should include ‘Food Drive’ on the memo line. The deadline for submitting food or cash donations is Friday, Dec. 9.

Food items can be dropped off at Chiles and Terwilliger elementary schools and Lincoln and Westwood  middle schools. They can also be dropped off at the School Board headquarters at the Kirby Smith Building, 620 East University Avenue. Pick up can also be arranged by contacting Kostamo at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or by phone at 352-955-6900. Donations must be received by the end of the day on Dec. 9 to give the district and schools time to distribute the boxes to the families.

For anyone inclined to include additional items, some suggestions include: another breakfast cereal • snack pack pudding • additional canned meals (ravioli, etc.) • individual fruit cups • raisins • fruit snacks. Grocery gift cards to buy fresh milk or produce are also appreciated.

Each box will contain the following items: 2 large cans of sweet potatoes, instant or boxed milk, cranberry sauce, bag of rice, stuffing mix, 3 boxes of macaroni and cheese, instant potatoes, box meal with meat (i.e. Hamburger Helper), jar of gravy, spaghetti noodles and a jar of sauce, 4 cans fruit, peanut butter, 4 cans vegetables, jar of jelly, cake mix/can of frosting, 3 cans of soup, grits, oatmeal or pancake mix, $10 gift card or non-refrigerated ham, 1 large can of Ravioli, Spaghetti-o’s, etc.