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Pack the Paramount Food Drive Returns with 20,000-item goal

RUTLAND, Vt. – With local food shelves continuing to see high demand for their services, organizers from WJJR and Green Mountain Power today announced a 20,000-item goal for the 2013 Pack the Paramount Food Drive.

“While unemployment is down and things are looking up in a lot of ways, the demand on local food shelves remains high, with families with small children, the elderly and the under-employed still struggling,” said Steve Costello, Green Mountain Power’s vice president for generation and energy innovation.  “The need remains significant.”

This year’s food drive will run from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Friday, July 12, and 6 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 13.  Donors can bring non-perishable food items to the Paramount Theatre on Center Street in Rutland. The objective is to fill every seat with a box or bag of food, symbolizing the hundreds of families who need assistance in the Rutland area.  The food will go to BROC, the Rutland Community Cupboard and the Salvation Army.

WJJR will broadcast live from the theater from 6 a.m. to 7 p.m. July 12 and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 13.

“Helping out our neighbors who are hungry is the most basic level of community service, and the drive provides a great opportunity for families, teams, co-workers and clubs to work together toward a meaningful goal,” said Terry Jaye, program manager at Catamount Radio.

“Over the years, we’ve seen some really touching things happen at this drive, in many cases little kids and pre-teens using their allowance to buy food to donate,” Jaye said.  “As adults we often get cynical, but each year some little kid turns up with a bag full of food they purchased themselves, and it rebuilds my confidence in our community every time.”

Organizers are encouraging student groups, clubs, businesses, co-workers and teams from the Rutland area to gather up food items for donation and deliver them to the Paramount.

All types of non-perishable food are appreciated, but certain items are in great demand. Peanut butter, jelly, canned tuna, pasta, pasta sauce, hearty soups, macaroni and cheese, cereal, coffee and tea, instant potatoes, rice and bottled juice are most popular. Other items, including baby food, toilet tissue, paper towels, hygiene products and large-size items for families, are not as frequently donated, but greatly needed. Cash donations, which will be used to purchase food for the participating food shelves, will also be accepted.

Paramount Executive Director Bruce Bouchard said he looks forward to the drive, which gives the Paramount a different life for two days.  “I see the Paramount as the centerpiece of downtown Rutland and a focal point for the whole community,” Bouchard said.  “But the theater isn’t a museum – it’s a part of the community, and a great place to bring the community together to support those who need that support.”

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