Fallen Officer Food Drive breaks records in Lower Burrell – TribLIVE

Fallen Officer Food Drive breaks records in Lower Burrell – TribLIVE

20 minutes ago

Beset by an unpleasant snowy, gray Saturday, donors still came out in full force for a record-breaking Fallen Officer Food Drive in Lower Burrell.

The food drive, in its third year, benefits the food bank at St. Margaret Mary Church in Lower Burrell. The fundraiser pays homage to two police officers who were gunned down and killed in separate events in the line of duty: New Kensington Officer Brian Shaw and Lower Burrell Officer Derek Kotecki. Their families and friends continue to raise money in their honor for scholarships, K-9 officers and community causes.

Organizers pulled in more than 40% more food than last year and more monetary donations ever given, over $2,000, including an anonymous donation by a resident who gave their stimulus check money to the food bank, said Leslie Zellers, secretary of the Brian Shaw Memorial Fund.

“It just shows what Derek and Brian mean to the community,” she said. “We have an incredibly generous and loyal people here.”

The St. Margaret Mary food bank serves 250 families in need in Lower Burrell, West Leechburg, Apollo, New Kensington and Arnold.

This was the year when the food bank needed extra attention.

The pantry shelves at St. Margaret Mary were practically bare. Like most food banks throughout the region, food supplies have remained low after the holidays and supplies continued to be stretched by many residents financially impacted by the pandemic.

Zellers said 45 cases of bottled water, more than 100 boxes of food, paper products almost filled a 20-foot truck donated by U-Haul, which has a facility in the city.

“Next year, we’re going to need a bigger truck,” she said

The food bank was surprised by the large donations, which will supplement their fresh food from the Westmoreland County Food Bank for the next two months.

“We’re overwhelmed by the generosity of the people in our community,” said Rosalie Kupec, who along with her husband Larry Kupec are coordinators of the St. Margaret Mary food bank.

“We are also impressed with the people who participated in getting this program started in the memory of the two officers, said Kupec who saw members of the Shaw and Kotecki families at the food drive Saturday. “It’s very heartwarming.”

The New Kensington-Arnold Educators Association made one of largest donations — $600. Several teachers met at Community Market and purchased $600 of non perishable goods.

“We are both humbled and ecstatic to have had the opportunity to donate and help such a great cause that serves our local communities,” said Ashely Pujol, vice president of the New Kensington-Arnold Educators Association.

“We are working hard to educate our students during these difficult times. This includes modeling for them the importance of helping our community,” she said.

Donors arrived with nonperishable food items that were collected in the parking lot of Mogie’s Irish Pub in Lower Burrell, packed in boxes and loaded into a U-Haul truck destined for St Margaret Mary.

Future food or monetary donations can be made to the St. Margaret Mary’s food bank at the church. Donations can be dropped off daily until 2 p.m. in the church lobby, along Leechburg Road in the city. Checks can be made out to St. Margaret Mary, with a note that it is for the food bank, and sent to the church at, 3055 Leechburg Rd, Lower Burrell, PA 15068. For more information, call 724-335-2336.

Mary Ann Thomas is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Mary at 724-226-4691, or via Twitter .

Local | Valley News Dispatch

Published at Sun, 17 Jan 2021 23:19:27 +0000

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