The Sherman IGA is launching a fall harvest food drive to collect food to aid state residents who are hungry.

The drive will start Oct. 20 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It will run through Dec. 15.

The goal is to raise 5,000 pounds of food for state residents, especially children, who are hungry or food insecure.

"Hunger is huge problem in our state and country especially among children," said Kate Deeds, produce manager for the Sherman IGA and project manager for the food drive. "We all need to come together, open up our hearts and reach out to lend a hand."

"We have such a warm and generous community in Sherman," added Mike Luzi, owner of the Sherman IGA. "If everyone chips in a little bit we can make a big difference for people in less fortunate situations."

Sherman IGA will donate hot cider and donuts for the kickoff celebration.

To further encourage participation, Sherman IGA is selling certain specially marked items at cost.

The store is also conducting a raffle for a $100 gift certificate to the store. Other local businesses have donated raffle prizes as well. Patrons who donate an item will receive a raffle ticket for a drawing to be held Dec. 15.

Also, every Tuesday during the drive patrons who purchase and donate an item before 3 p.m. will receive a free cup of coffee.

The drive will also accept non-perishable food and personal care items purchased at other stores, and will accept cash donations, which will be used to purchase needed items at cost.

Food donations will go to the Connecticut Food Bank, which is based in New Haven and serves approximately 600 community-based food programs.

These include soup kitchens, food pantries, shelters and low-income adult and child day programs in six of the state's eight counties.

All non-perishable food and personal care items are welcome.

The state food bank reports the most urgently needed items are 100 percent fruit juices in cans, boxes or bottles; canned vegetables and fruit; chunky soups and beef stew; gluten-free products; macaroni and cheese; peanut butter; powdered milk; dry rice; canned beans; spaghetti and sauce; sugar-free, low-sodium and no-salt items; tuna and other canned meats; shampoo, toothpaste and toothbrushes; diapers, detergent and deodorant; and shaving cream, razors and hairbrushes.

For more information or to volunteer to help with the drive, call the IGA at 860-354-8488 or email shermaniga@hotmail.com.