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‘Connect’ serves nearly 700, task force says; Over 5,000 pounds of food collected in separate effort

Two efforts on Saturday proved that the Austin community always digs deep for its neighbors.

Almost 700 of the community’s underprivileged attended
the first-ever Community Connect event Saturday, held in Hastings Gym at Austin High School.

And, thanks to the Austin High School National Honor Society, the Austin Jaycees and the local National Association of Letter Carriers, 5,100 pounds of food was collected that same day, which will help restock the Mower County Food Shelf at the Salvation Army.

Community Connect, sponsored by the Austin Poverty Task Force, the event intended — and succeeded — in bringing together local agencies and organizations that could provide resources and services to those who often have to go without.

“We were totally pleased with the attendance at the Community Connect,” said task force co-chairman Richard Lemons. “We served 692 people. We anticipated serving 300 people, but fortunately, our partners Hormel and Hy-Vee provided extra food both for the lunch and for the grocery distribution.

“Also, in the last hour of the event, Hy-Vee brought over additional food to allow us to feed more people. This event was indeed a success and is most of all a testimony to the giving nature of the Austin community. We had 45 organizations represented and over 100 volunteers who showed up and did whatever needed to be done.

“I am so very proud to be a member of this community,” he said.