The Pennsylvania Farm Bureau collected thousands of dollars of merchandise this month to donate to the Ronald McDonald House program as a part of food check-out week.

Food check-out week is a PFB operation which promotes the ideals of farmers in regards to producing safe and healthy food to consumers.

The donation drive in Bradford and Sullivan counties is led by PFB county coordinator Kathy Yoachim. Yoachim handles the logistics of donating such a large amount of items to the Ronald McDonald House each year.

The Ronald McDonald House program provides a "home-away-from-home" for families so they can stay close by their hospitalized child at little or no cost.

Yoachim said this is the 14th year of the donation drive, and she has been working on this year's project for about three months now.

Tuesday morning a trailer is towed to the Ronald McDonald House in Danville where the items are presented to the charity.

The 14 foot trailer being used this year is donated by Best Line Equipment of Towanda, Pa. The trailer is filled about half way to the top with various items including toys, food, and paper products. Yoachim estimated that the value of this year's donations from Bradford County is approximately $8,377, up from an estimated $6,500 last year.

According to Yoachim, each year "we basically restock the entire pantry in Danville."

Support from local businesses has been strong in recent years, with this year being no exception.

Donations for this year's drive have been received from Plants 'n Things Florists, Tractor Supply Co., Carl Etshman Co., Land O'Lakes, Tops Friendly Markets, Hurley's Supermarket, Bimbo Bakeries, and Saints Peter and Paul Church.

Local schools also played a large part in the donation drive, Yoachim said.

A separate trip will be made to deliver the donations from Sullivan County because of space limitations.

"The first year we did this donation drive, we only needed to take a truck down, but now we are having to take an entire trailer just for the Bradford County donations. ... We have received a lot of help throughout the county, and I really want to thank all of those involved for that," Yoachim said.

Tim Zyla can be reached at (570) 265-1634; or email: