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Heather Mercado eats dinner at Water Street Mission in this file photo from 2014.

Water Street Mission’s holiday food drive kicks off Sunday with a goal of collecting 120,000 pounds of non-perishable food, enough to fill 40 cars. It continues through Dec. 20.

The food helps the homeless shelter serve 400 meals a day as well as provide groceries to thousands of households each month.

The drive is even more important this year to help families who lost income because of COVID-19’s impact on the economy.

“The food you donate will go to hurting men and women finding a safe place to stay and grow at Water Street and to families in our community struggling to make ends meet,” said Jack Crowley, Mission president. Serving a single meal “can actually be a stepping stone into deeper services and restoration for someone looking for a hand-up.”

The drive begins Sunday with FM 97’s virtual Stuff-a-Buggy event seeking online donations from listeners.

Food can be dropped off at Water Street Mission, Sharp Shopper, Boscov’s and any Sheetz, Weis and AAA Central Penn location in Lancaster County.

For more information, go to rescuemissionfooddrive.org.

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