The need continues – more than one in four children in Story County is eligible to receive free/reduced lunch. Once summer break starts, these children won’t have access to school-provided meals. Therefore, the need for food at local food pantries is even greater during the summer months. To combat the need, United Way of Story County (UWSC) is holding its eleventh annual LIVE UNITED Food Drive from April 29 through May 9.

“Pantries across Story County are seeing near record numbers of visitors each month. As we head into the summer months, we want to ensure that every family in Story County has access to enough healthy food,” said Sara Zejnic UWSC community impact director. “The need is there, and we’re asking the community to help.”

Last year, Story County community members helped collect over 11,000 pounds of food and more than $7,500, which was distributed to 13 local food pantries in Ames, Cambridge, Colo, Huxley, Maxwell, McCallsburg/Zearing, Nevada, Slater/Sheldahl and Story City. Many of the pantries purchase food from the Food Bank of Iowa for as little as 14 cents per pound, which stretches the cash donations even further. The amount of money collected increased by more than $2,300 over the 2018 drive, which allowed pantries to purchase approximately 16,400 additional pounds of food.

Ninety-three local organizations have partnered with UWSC to serve as drop points for donations. For a complete list of participating organizations across the county, a list of needed items in the food pantries and more information, visit