Bartell Drugs will kick off its annual food drive on Monday. Stores around the region, including the Gig Harbor , will be collecting non-perishable food donations through June 12.
The two week long drive supports Northwest Harvest food banks and is meant to feed children and their families during the summer months. Many families depend on free and reduced breakfasts and lunches during the school year, making summer all the more challenging.
Shelley Rotondo, executive director of Northwest Harvest, said 450,000 children in Washington were eligible for free or reduced-price breakfast and lunch in 2010. Of those students, only 9 percent took advantage of meals during the summertime, which Rotondo attributes to lack of transportation or access to meal sites.
"This really highlights the need for a summer food drive that benefits children," Rotondo said.
Bartell Drugs regularly works with Northwest Harvest. During the holidays, the drug store chain holds another special food drive.