County officials stepped up to help unload trucks full of thousands of pounds of food for the 13th annual Thanksgiving food drive at the First United Methodist Church in Media on Friday.

Delaware County Council, the County Department of Human Services, the Office of Behavioral Health and the County Department of Intercommunity Health partnered with Magellan Behavioral Health of Pennsylvania to collect food for the drive, said Gayle Oddi, the county’s food drive coordinator.

The first delivery had been on Nov. 2nd to the True Vine Full Gospel Missionary Baptist Church in Chester with 13,392 pounds of food dropped off.

Last Friday, 17,098 pounds were collected in Media, totaling 30,490 pounds between both of those days, Oddi said. 

Julie Brown dressed as the turkey this year and stood with volunteers and county officials.

Julie Brown dressed as the turkey this year and stood with volunteers and county officials.

She said businesses donated gift certificates so that drive organizers could purchase food from grocery stores for the donations and two local banks donated over $7,000 in cash, she said.

The county asked people to give nonperishable food items, Oddi said. With the donated cash, Magellan purchased produce that doesn’t need to be refrigerated such as bananas, potatoes and onions.

She said five food cupboards including Delaware County Interfairth Food Assistance Network (DIFAN) will receive food from the church.

Delaware County Emergency Services (DCES) volunteered trucks to deliver the thousands of pounds of food to the church in Media. Edwin Kline, DCES volunteer management coordinator, said he used the food drive as an exercise in emergency training for volunteers.

For instance, Kline explained that driving the trucks of food to the church taught volunteers how to load and unload food in a timely manner in the case of an emergency.

Julie Brown, of Magellan, and the volunteer who dressed as the turkey at this year’s drive, said the Domestic Relations, Adult Probation and Parole and the Sheriff’s offices competed among themselves to raise the most food.

The agency winning the competition receives a trophy and each year the departments would circulate the trophy to the winner,  Brown said.

Also, the idea of dressing as a turkey started 13 years ago with a wager where whoever collected the least amount of food had to send someone dressed as a turkey. This year, Brown dressed as a turkey for the fun of it.

Ruby Benson, volunteer and program manager with Family and Community Services of Delaware County, said the food drive is rewarding because people come out to help the hungry.

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