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St. Patrick’s Day Parade spearheads Go for the Green Food Drive

Posted at 3:00 AM, Mar 17, 2022
and last updated 2022-03-17 09:49:55-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 37-year-old tradition continues this St. Patrick’s Day in Kansas City, Missouri. Organizers of the annual parade once again hosted a food drive for Harvesters in the lead up to the Irish holiday.

“They’re probably one our longest standing partners in the community that we still continue to have today,” Sarah Biles, Harvesters’ director of communications, said.

Harvesters turns 43 this year, highlighting how tightly connected the community food network is with the parade.

The “Go for the Green” food drive has provided hundreds of thousands of meals for families in 26 counties surrounding Kansas City since its inception. In recent years, the drive collects monetary donations for Harvesters online instead of collecting food at physical locations. Harvesters can stretch those dollars.

“For every dollar donated, we can help provide three meals to our network,” Biles pointed out.

The organization has been stretched thin during the COVID-19 pandemic. Demand for food increased, but the virus disrupted volunteer operations and donation drives. Now rising costs for gasoline and food present challenges. The parade committee continued the food drive in 2020 and 2021 despite not hosting a parade.

“It’s been amazing and we’re so grateful for their continued support and enthusiasm for the fight against hunger,” Biles said.

The grand marshal of 2022’s St. Patrick’s Day parade is Pete McCluskey. He said Irish people know the importance of having a good meal since the potato famine in Ireland during the mid-1800s lead to the deaths of about one million people.

“Food insecurity, obviously, is top of mind for us,” McCluskey pointed out. “So it was a natural to have a Harvesters component with the St. Patrick's Day parade.”

The Go for the Green food drive continues through Sunday, March 20. To make a donation, visit Harvesters website.