Donations for Groceries for Good, the annual community food drive now in its 28th year, are still being accepted online after the campaign in local grocery stores ended Saturday.

The Paducah Sun-sponsored program has raised $22,133.89 so far this year, $9,870.94 online; $9,622.18 in checks either mailed in or placed in donation boxes at Paducah Kroger stores (Hannan Plaza, Irvin Cobb Drive and Park Avenue), Forthman Foods and Reidland Food Giant; and $2,640.77 in cash.

Like many community fundraising events, COVID-19 has impacted Groceries for Good, where in past years shoppers could purchase and leave donated food items at local stores to be picked up, sorted and distributed.

In addition to the donation boxes at local grocery stores, this year donations could be mailed into the newspaper office or made online through the newspaper’s website.

Last year, $52,563 worth of groceries were distributed, making the grand total collected up to the start of this year’s campaign over $727,500 to help stock local food pantries.

Agencies that will receive donations this year include: Family Service Society, Martha’s Vineyard, River City Mission, St. Vincent de Paul, Hope Unlimited, Paducah Day Nursery, Merryman House, Paducah Cooperative Ministry, and the Salvation Army.

“While we’re very excited about the community response and the money raised (so far), this falls short of what we’ve been able to do in the past when we actually collected canned- and non-perishable food items,” said Bill Evans, publisher of The Sun and vice president-general manager of WPSD Local 6.

“There’s still a need we want to help meet, so we’re extending our online giving opportunities. You can go to www.paducahsun.com, click and donate.”

This year’s campaign got a boost when an impromptu auction among patrons/members of Paducah’s Old Fashioned Cigar Bar raised $2,650, the largest single contribution in this year’s effort. The members included Ken and Deanne Toby, Bill Jones, Joe Brantley and Terry Gwaltney.

“This was a private event where they went to auction off this bottle of whiskey,” Evans said.

“Once Ken and Deanne bought it, they said ‘let’s put it up for bid, again,’ and then when Terry bought it, and Bill bought it, and Joe bought it ... they all said ‘let’s put it up for bid, again.’ ”

According to Evans, “While this was a very giving gesture, our average donation online is around $50. So every dollar buys groceries for families in west Kentucky.

“We are going to make a distribution on Tuesday from funds we’ve already collected and get those in the hands of the nine partnering agencies, so they can begin buying the groceries and distributing them to moms, dads and kids.”

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