IRVINE, Calif., Oct. 14 /PRNewswire/ -- The Orange County Great Park Balloon is already dressed for Halloween. The giant flying jack-o'-lantern signals the arrival of the second annual Great Park Pumpkin Harvest, a Halloween celebration and food drive benefiting the Orange County Food Bank and the Second Harvest Food Bank.
As kids and adults alike enjoy Halloween activities, a petting zoo, pumpkin carving and a costume parade, they also have the opportunity to bring non-perishable food donations to the Pumpkin Harvest for local food banks. The event blends family-friendly fun with service to the community.
"The Great Park Pumpkin Harvest is part of the Park's goal to create programs with a purpose," said Larry Agran, Chair of the Orange County Great Park Corporation. "This annual event is filled with fun family activities and helps two local food banks to serve struggling families in Orange County."
Some local food banks have reported that requests for emergency food assistance have doubled during the past year as more and more families are struggling to meet their basic needs.
"The food collected during the Pumpkin Harvest Food Drive will provide immediate relief for families who are struggling from the current economic crisis," said Mark Lowry, Director, Orange County Food Bank. "The Great Park really is a Park with a heart."
Last year, The Great Park community farm program grew about 140 tons of food and distributed it to local food banks, which in turn served more than 60,000 people. That effort continues with the Pumpkin Harvest food drive, as well as an agriculture space expansion at the Park that will begin next year.
"With increasing unemployment and a record number home foreclosures, the need for hunger relief in Orange County continues to rise," said Joe Schoeningh, Director of Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County. "We thank the Orange County Great Park for their shared mission to help the hungry."
The Great Park Pumpkin Harvest is Saturday, October 24, 2009 from 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. at the Preview Park. Admission is free and parking is $8.00. Food donation bins will be located at the event entrance.
About Orange County Food Bank:
The Orange County Food Bank supplies food to nearly 400 charities who provide meals to people who are unemployed, disabled, homeless, seniors on fixed incomes, and the working poor. The Food Bank also directly provides nutritionally balanced food boxes to 1,400 vulnerable seniors each day. The Orange County Food Bank is a program of the Community Action Partnership of Orange County (CAPOC). For 44 years, CAPOC has provided support services for Orange County residents, including operating two family resource centers, a child care facility, computers for kids, health and nutrition activities, financial assistance, home repairs, and job placement.
About Second Harvest Food Bank:
For 26 years, Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County has provided more than 245 million pounds of safe and nutritious surplus food to over 400 charitable non-profit organizations throughout Orange County. The Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County is a certified Affiliate Member of Feeding America. For more information about Second Harvest Food Bank of Orange County or to learn how to help, visit www.FeedOC.org
For updated information about the Great Park, go to www.ocgp.org or call (949) 724-7420.
SOURCE The Orange County Great Park