Shakespeare Festival holds food drive

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival has launched its annual holiday food drive with the theme of "Hunger in Ashland: The Need is Greater Than Ever."

Members of the community are invited to contribute to the OSF Food Drive in any way they can. A food drop-box in the shape of a large Campbell's Soup can is located in OSF's administration lobby. The OSF administration desk will accept cash donations as well.

The lobby is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Local businesses who have already contributed cash to the Food Drive include Beavertooth Oak, Ashland Lumber, MM Paint, Sasco, Ashland Hardware, Medford Tool and Al's Sharpening Service.

OSF employees will also be collecting food outside Shop'n'Kart grocery store in Ashland on two Saturdays, Dec. — and 15, from 10 a.m. to — p.m.

According to a recent press release from the Oregon Food Bank, their network distributed 752,044 emergency food boxes in Oregon and Clark County, Wash., between July 1, 2006, and June 30, 2007. In addition, 176 soup kitchens and shelters provided four million emergency meals and 378 other agencies helped more than 88,000 people.

Most adults who receive emergency food boxes are working, retired or disabled, according to an OSF press release.

"In fact, 47 percent of households receiving emergency food in 2006 had at least one working member," the release states. "That's an increase from 43 percent in 2004 and 37 percent in 1996."

The Ashland Emergency Food Bank is currently reporting twice as many requests for emergency food than at this time last year.

For more information about where to drop off a contribution or for information on donation pick-ups, contact Kathy Claussen at OSF at (541) 482-2111, ext. 0.

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