Ocala, FL. (December 2, 2008) – Interfaith Emergency Services van drove away from ARC Marion’s campus on Monday with $1,500 cash and 42 large boxes filled with food. Interfaith had already received 69 turkeys from ARC Marion’s food drive just before Thanksgiving.

In early November ARC Marion clients, staff, family and friends began collecting non-perishable food items for the Interfaith Emergency Services pantry in Ocala at a time when Interfaith’s Executive Director, Gary Linn, says food is going out faster than it’s coming in.

“Before these boxes arrived, our pantry was totally empty,” said Linn. “We are very, very pleased with the response. The food from ARC Marion will surely feed up to 10 families with 3-days of food each.”

Troy Strawder, CEO of ARC Marion, noted how the food drive’s success was a group effort. “Our clients really got excited and involved, and our board members chipped in as well.” Lockheed Martin donated the turkeys for the food drive, and Signature Brands/Hero Foods donated a semi truck load of baby food as part of the ARC drive. Strawder continued, “This won’t be the last time we do this to help Interfaith. When times are tough, it’s really about the community helping the community, and that’s what our clients at ARC want to do!” Linn concurred. “In my 20 years at Interfaith, we’ve never had a relationship like this with ARC Marion. We hope it will only grow in the future.”

Linn concluded, “We really appreciate our early Christmas gift from ARC Marion.”

ARC Marion, established in 1959, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with the mission: to create opportunities for persons with disabilities to live, work and play to the fullest of their capabilities in Marion County. ARC stands for Advocacy Resource Center. They serve over 250 clients annually, employ 140 and are governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.

The Heart of Florida Hope Foundation, established in 2001, is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization with the mission: to encourage the philanthropic support of ARC Marion, so they may improve the care and training of the developmentally disabled in our community.