11th annual St. Johns CARES food drive underway

By Angela Higginbotham

St. Johns CARES has been working to serve families in the community and throughout the country for the past decade. Standing strong on its mission to “Unite the community through helping others in need,” this year the need throughout the entire country is as great as it’s ever been. Less than one year after Hurricane Matthew struck, residents have been again displaced and many have suffered loss from other hurricanes. Food is, of course, paramount in the recovery from these disasters.

During the last week of October, a St. Johns CARES grocery bag will be placed on your mailbox flag. Keep those that are in need in your thoughts as you shop for your food items for the week. Fill your grocery bag with non-perishable items for others in our community and county who will still be struggling with the aftermath of these storms. An information sheet will be attached to your bag with suggestions for your donation. Local grocery stores will be offering buy one, get one items during this time. St. Johns CARES encourages you to think “Buy one, GIVE one” while you do your shopping and place the grocery bag of donations, beside your mailbox, by 10 a.m. on Saturday, Nov. 4.

Beneficiaries for this year are St. Francis House in St. Augustine, Christ’s Cupboard at Celebration Lutheran Church on Roberts Road, Shepherd’s Haven in Hastings, and SEA Community in Armstrong. Volunteers from these organization are so grateful for the generous donations from the community.

“Volunteers are still needed to help make the food drive successful. We need help distributing bags, picking up donations and help with sorting. Last year we collected approximately $40,000 in donations,” said Meg Balke, president of St. Johns CARES.

Balke said that St. Johns CARES would like to express thanks to the community and the businesses that both sponsor and give support to the food drive. Publix, Pinch-a-Penny, The UPS Store, Julington Creek Golf Club, VyStar and groups that assist in logistics and collections, such as the St. Johns Rotary Club, JCP Loggerheads, and local schools, are all very much appreciated.

Visit www.stjohnscares.org if you are interested in becoming a volunteer for the food drive or to receive information on other ways to make the year brighter for those less fortunate.

St. Johns CARES, Inc. (formerly JCP CARES) is a nonprofit organization committed to helping local charities in St. Johns County. It provides assistance to local charities and those in need through donations and time.  Charity efforts are divided into four different categories: Animals and Environment; Senior and Medical; Children; and Homeless and Abused. Helping Hands of Nocatee has joined St. Johns CARES as St. Johns CARES Kids to work alongside one another supporting the charities in St. Johns County with more family and kid friendly activities.  



Photos courtesy St. Johns CARES

A volunteer from St. Johns CARES will place bags on mailboxes the last week of October for the annual food drive and pick them back up on Nov. 4.