AURORA -- Rain may have dampened donations to Fill a Bag, Feed a Family this year, but it didn't dampen the spirits of the volunteers helping out on the annual spring food drive, according to Fill a Bag, Feed a Family co-chair Katie Monroe.

"We had 96 people running around picking up bags in the pouring rain, and we had 70 more volunteers in the warehouse sorting food," she said. "It was very successful in terms of volunteers and warehouse people who were very happy to be doing something good."

Fill a Bag, Feed a Family, which is in its third year, is a community event aimed at stocking the shelves of the Aurora Food Pantry during the summer months, which are usually lean for food pantries, according to organizers.

Bags were left on 5,000 residents' doorsteps April 22. Residents were asked to place some nonperishable food items in the bags prior to April 29, when the bags were picked up.

Monroe said donations from the Aurora Baseball League may have been low this year because games were rained out that would have provided a location for people to donate food.

However, she said she won't know how well the effort went until later this week because donations were still coming in from Christ Community Chapel, Our Lady of Perpetual Help and the Church in Aurora as of press time.

"Those three churches had bins," she said. "Anything donated this week will count toward the total."

The items were then sorted at and stored at the Aurora Baseball League's warehouse in the city's southern industrial zone, and will be available for those in need at the Volunteers of America food pantry.

Monroe said some of those residents took their bags directly to the Aurora Food Pantry because they were worried about leaving them out in the rain. The number of people who took their bags to the pantry "could be a very big number," she said.

One disappointment was the amount of expired food that was donated, she said. "There were two very large boxes of expired food," she said. "Legally, [the pantry] can't give it away."

She said she noticed expiration dates of 2014, 2013, 2007 and 2005 on items. She said she is hoping to find out how many pounds of expired food were donated.

While most of the donations should be in and counted by the end of the week, Monroe said Aurora High students have until the end of the school year -- May 25 -- to raise $5,000, which would be matched by an anonymous donor, creating a total cash donation of up to $10,000.

The high school's service learning class is working to get donations, and AHS student Emma Frankman is spearheading the effort to collect funds.


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