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Eateries join forces to fight hunger

From left, Laura Lucas, sales representative for The Big Deal, Lighthouse volunteer Carrie Goga, Peter Caruso, owner of Uncle Peter's Pasties, volunteer Arlene Pascoe, Mike Mowry, owner of Rio Wraps, volunteer Jenny Hoder, Connie Stapleton, Lighthouse North manager, and volunteers Colleen Stonehouse and Audry Keyser help provide food assistance to those in need. Photo by Phil Custodio (click for larger version)
April 27, 2011 - Several local businesses are teaming up for a food drive to help Lighthouse North.

"What they do here is amazing," said Mike Mowry, owner of Rio Wraps, 6325 Sashabaw Road. "As much as we can do to help support the community is great."

To participate, bring donations to the Sashabaw Road businesses Rio Wraps, Leo's Coney Island, Uncle Peter's Pasties, and Pitaway. The restaurants offer 10 percent off with donations, as well as additional coupons in this month's Big Deal publication.

"I love the concept of helping the community," said Mowry, who organized the food drive with his wife, Alyssa, sister, Pam, Laura Lucas, sales representative for The Big Deal, and Norm Pardo and publisher Jim Sherman Jr. of The Clarkston News. "I see it first hand, times are tough."

"There's a need in our local community," Lucas said. "We're blessed. We love the community and got together to help people."

With need at an all time high, the food drive is very welcome, said Connie Stapleton, Lighthouse North manager.

"It was steady for a while, but recently we've seen an increase in number and new faces," Stapleton said. "It's kind of disturbing. Things are getting worse across the board."

Especially needed are hamburger and tuna meal helpers, canned tuna, spaghetti noodles and sauce, boxed potatoes and rice, and cereal, as well as household items such as paper towels and facial tissues.

"We have a lot of canned vegetables and soup," she said. "Non-food items help families save money for other expenses. We always need financial help, too, to help with utilities, housing, and especially gas gift cards."

Each week, Lighthouse serves about 150 families at its 6330 Sashabaw Road facility.

"We couldn't do what we do without the community," Stapleton said. "I've seen community support grow as need has grown it's amazing."

The food drive runs through the month of May.

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