MADISON COUNTY, Ohio (WMCH) — A group of local mayors is using a friendly competition to help fill the food pantries. 

The communities of West Jefferson, Plain City, London and Mount Sterling are all participating. Each of the mayors have encouraged community members to donate items at drop-off sites.

“It just shows solidarity within our county and that we may be a little rural county, but we have a lot of good things going and I think people just need to see their mayors are out there doing something other than the business of day to day,” said Marci Darlington, mayor of Mount Sterling.

After the drive, the items will be counted to determine which community raised the most. The food and other necessities will then be distributed to various food pantries. Good Samaritan Food Pantry (GSFP) in West Jefferson is one of the places which will benefit from this.

“It helps us to restock our shelves where we pack our food boxes, and it just helps us to stretch our budget dollars a little bit farther,” said Linda Collins, one of the GSFP’s co-directors. “Everything goes out one way or another so we are very appreciative.”

Collins and the other co-director, Sharon Garver, said the challenge between the mayors makes a big difference. 

“That cooperation and working together obviously as in anything in life makes it easier, it makes it better for us, so I love the mayors doing this because it just reinforces what we do as pantries, the way we share and help one another,” Garver said.

More than 4,000 items were collected during last year’s challenge. The hope is that even more is collected this year. Some communities are collecting through Saturday, others through Sunday.