7th Annual Fill the Gazebo food drive set for August 3
Ready. Set. Fill the Gazebo!
The annual Fill the Gazebo food drive will celebrate its seventh year in 2019, by collecting nonperishable food and personal care items for members of the Merrill community on August 3 in Normal Park.
This campaign started in 2013 as a replacement for the CROP Hunger Walk, where only 25 percent of the proceeds stayed in Merrill. Instead, organizers determined that the community was better served by concentrating all its efforts on supporting local food pantries and the Food for Kids program with this home-based fundraiser.
The Merrill Ministerium is the primary sponsor of the event. It, along with a committee of representatives from several area churches and committed volunteers from local service organizations and businesses collect, deliver, and process community contributions from individuals and organizations. Occurring in conjunction with the Merrill Craft and Vendor Show, the collection day event at the Gazebo has grown into a celebration of the generosity of the Merrill community.
Since its inception, Fill the Gazebo has supported the three local food pantries: Merrill Community Food Pantry, Open Hearts Food Pantry at Trinity Lutheran Church, and His Arms Extended Food Pantry at New Testament Church. Together, the pantries help with the food and care needs of several hundred households in the Merrill area during the course of each year.
In addition, the Food for Kids Program accepts monetary donations to support over 170 elementary-aged children in five local schools with nutritious snacks on weekends during the school year.
Fill the Gazebo has increased in its ability to help fight hunger in Merrill with each campaign. Last year, over 8,500 pounds of nonperishable items and $4,500 in monetary contributions were received. However, although the community’s generosity is great, the needs of our neighbors remain great as well. The hope is that the Fill the Gazebo food drive will continue to grow and support the needs of the community.