Christmas in July Helps the Hungry

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JENKINS TOWNSHIP -- A month-long food drive competition wrapped up in Luzerne County. The United Way of Wyoming Valley hosted a Christmas in July food drive.

Businesses competed to see which one could donate the most food in 31 days.

With boxes wrapped in Christmas paper, the season of giving started a little early at the Weinberg Northeast Regional Food Bank near Pittston.

"It's huge," said Brandon Salazar, Frontier Communications. "You always have to give back and that is something we really do at Frontier. We help each other and we help everyone around us."

Frontier Communications is one of more than 50 businesses that took part in the United Way's annual Christmas in July competition.

The businesses collected donations all month long, then brought them to the food bank for the final weigh in.

"The summer months tend to be a time period when many of the pantries in the community and the Weinberg food bank shelves are a little bit thinner than other times during the year, especially during the holidays," said United Way of Wyoming Valley President Bill Jones.

Frontier Communications was one of the biggest drop offs at the Christmas in July event. They brought three trucks full of food and other products.

"It's beautiful. You know, everyone, if they have it, they lend some out and help everyone around you and it's definitely nice that we can be a part of this," said Salazar.

Everything from non-perishable food items to baby products was hauled into the food bank.

Organizers say the amount of donations shows exactly how seriously people are taking the issue of hunger in the community.

"They understand that their donations are really helping people in need, so it's just a great event," Jones added.

The donations collected during the United Way's Christmas in July competition will be distributed among shelters and food pantries throughout the Wyoming Valley.

The winner of the weigh in was Berkshire Hathaway Guard Insurance with 17,304 pounds.

The total weigh in of all food collected was 72,541 pounds.

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