The Caring Center at 1230 Ransdell Court in Lebanon needs volunteers and donations for its annual holiday food drive.

Theresa Hanners, executive director of the Caring Center, explained, “Weather impacts our donations. When the weather is warm, people don’t always remember the needs of our clients who are food insecure year round. Without having snow, we are short on donations, and we need these donations quickly to feed our community.”

The Caring Center is open 30 hours a week to help accommodate a variety of client schedules, including shift and weekend workers. The onsite pantry and closet assists 350 families each month and as many as 700 families in the months of November and December.

Last year the center distributed more than 160 tons of food using donations from residents and businesses that donate through the food rescue program.

“We have a food rescue program that helps us to use goods that stores would toss out," Hanners said. "Kroger, Walmart and Aldi work with us to use perishable goods. Our truck gathers the food three days a week. We work to have a continual cycle of fresh produce and bread, so it is possible for our clients to have fresh foods and not just processed food. We set up the pantry guidelines according to My Plate — this allows clients to choose healthier foods while meeting their family preferences. We push nutrition.”

The current holiday food drive is underway and in need of multiple donations as well as volunteers.

The Caring Center will give out an additional 350 boxed Thanksgiving meals.

“Thanksgiving is an especially challenging time for us," Hanners said. "We truly need volunteers to help donate food and time. As one of the only organizations addressing the Thanksgiving meal, we have twice as many clients as per a regular month. Several organizations serve Christmas dinner, but we are one of very few to serve Thanksgiving.

"The Thanksgiving meal is pre-boxed (except for the turkey) one week before distribution. It includes cranberries, green beans, sweet potatoes and stuffing — everything you see online," she said. "We are quickly approaching the deadline, and still in need of food. Our cutoff date is Nov. 15. This is a great opportunity for families to shop together and have children select items to donate or for families to come in and work together to package food.

"There are a lot of perfect ways to give this season. We appreciate everyone who supports us.”

Donations may be dropped off at the center, mailed or made online at http://www.thecaringcenter.net.

Needed items

Chicken broth

Corn

Cranberry sauce

Evaporated milk

Fruit

Green beans

Pumpkin pie filling

Butter/margarine

Cake mix

Egg noodles

Gelatin

Potatoes

Pudding mix

Sugar

Stuffing

Turkey, ham or whole chicken