March 11, 2024

Tri-City Fire Dept Food Drive Challenge Collects Nearly 26,000 Pounds of Food for Lake Cares Food Pantry

1.7 min read| Published On: March 11th, 2024|

By Cindy Peterson

Tri-City Fire Dept Food Drive Challenge Collects Nearly 26,000 Pounds of Food for Lake Cares Food Pantry

1.7 min read| Published On: March 11th, 2024|

Eustis Fire Department comes in first for the fourth consecutive year

The Fourth Annual Tri-City Fire Department Food Drive Challenge on January 27, collected a total of 25,820 pounds of food for the Lake Cares Food Pantry. This total surpassed last year’s count by 14,000 pounds. The poundage includes cash contributions which are calculated at $1.79 in cash equaling one pound of food. The Rotary Club of Lake County Golden Triangle has coordinated the annual event since its inaugural in 2021. 

The Eustis FD Station 22 collected 16,708 pounds which makes the Eustis department the winner in all four years of the drive. During the friendly rivalry, Eustis Fire Chief Michael Swanson challenged Mount Dora Chief Joseph Hightower to the losing station’s chief having to ride-along the winning station’s truck. Hightower will comply at a date to be announced. 

Mount Dora FD Station 34 came in second by gathering 6,860 pounds. They were aided by the residents of Waterman Village as well as a challenge-within-the-challenge by Hightower and Mount Dora Mayor Crissy Stile. The city’s high, middle and elementary schools participated by collecting 1,618 pounds of the city’s total. Amassing the most food out of the three schools, Mount Dora Middle School students will enjoy an ice cream social with the mayor and the fire department on Mar. 20.

Tavares FD Station 28, under the leadership of Chief Richard Keith, reached 2,302 pounds which included half the total collected by Lake Technical College.  

The food pantry provides food and other necessities directly to people in need in Lake County. In 2022, the pantry served over 67,000 individuals and oversaw the weekly distribution of more than 25,000 pounds of food. The charity distributes food from their main pantry location in Mount Dora as well as seven additional sites throughout the county. 

In the four years of the food drive, the total collections of 91,401 pounds of unexpired, shelf-stable food for the pantry provided 76,168 meals to those struggling with food insecurity. 

“Next year’s drive on January 25, 2025, will be the fifth anniversary of the event,” said Jim Dickerson, former Chief of Lake County Fire Rescue and the Rotary’s Community Service Chair and President Elect. “With the momentum accelerating and all the number fives in this date, our goal is to collect 50,000 pounds next year.”  

Find out more about the Rotary Club at  

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About the Author: Cindy Peterson

Originally from the small town of Berryville, Arkansas, Cindy has become a multimedia specialist in journalism, photography, videography and video editing.

She has a B.S. in Communications from the University of Central Arkansas and is a correspondent for The Daily Commercial, LakeFront TV and Beacon College’s PBS talk show, “A World of Difference,” where she received an Anthem Award and Telly Award.

When she isn’t working, Cindy spends time with her husband, Ryan, and son, David, traveling and taking photos of landscapes and wildlife.

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