Community Services Agency (CSA) has a unique canned food drive planned for the summer, a time of year when donations are historically low – a social media campaign designed to encourage everyone to bring at least one can of healthy food to their local food pantry.

The Mountain View Can challenge is simple:  from July 30th– August 17th, bring a can of food (or several) to your local food pantry and post a photograph or video of yourself doing so on social media. Tag your post with #CanChallenge, #MountainViewCan, and #CSAcares. CSA is especially in need of pop-top meals for those without kitchen access, high protein items, low-sodium canned vegetables, and fruits in their own juices.

Simone Berkowitz, CSA program coordinator and organizer of Mountain View Can says the idea for the campaign came to her when she noticed a CSA neighbor posting on an app looking for a place to donate food. “People who live within blocks of CSA don’t necessarily know who we are or what we do here. I thought a social media campaign would be a great way to raise awareness about the important issue of hunger in our community and all the work CSA is doing to address it. I remembered the ice bucket challenge having had a huge impact on raising funds for ALS research, and I wanted to bring a similar idea to fighting hunger.”

Says CSA Food and Nutrition Center Director Christine Flego, “Our in-kind food donations are down significantly in the summer. This campaign gives us the opportunity to restock our shelves and help the people we serve. Everyone should have access to healthy, nutritious options. Those lacking financially shouldn’t have to go hungry. Food impacts your life in so many ways. When you’re eating well, you’re able to be healthier physically, but also emotionally and mentally.”

More than 100,000 children in Santa Clara County are eligible for the free and reduced lunch program at school, according to the Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. When schools are closed for summer, many of those children eat fewer meals. CSA helps to provide for those children as well as filling the gaps for adults, seniors, and homeless individuals in the community year-round. Last year, CSA served over 7,000 people through its food pantry and that number is growing.

CSA Executive Director Tom Myers says, “It’s when a client stops you to thank you that you realize the importance of the work you are doing. That family is going to eat for another few nights, and that’s one less thing they have to worry about. I hope that through Mountain View Can, we at CSA inspire people everywhere to help others by donating to their local food pantry. Imagine the impact on hunger if everyone in the country participated.”

Follow the campaign on Facebook: facebook.com/CSAcares/

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