BALDWIN — Grand Oaks Nursing Home is asking for the community to pitch in with its new canned food drive to benefit local food pantries.

The nursing home's activities director, Christine Engels, said the drive was a return to form for their organization and should do a lot of good for the community.

"February is National Canned Food Drive Month and we want to give back to the community," said Engels. "We used to run some food drives, but we didn't do one last year. When I got the job a year ago, I thought this was a good way to positively affect people."

The drive began on Jan. 18, will run until the end of February and donations can be dropped off at the senior center in Baldwin. All manner of canned food is welcome, along with other nonperishable foods and bottled water.

Thus far, most donations have come from within the nursing home, but Engels hopes more local residents will contribute once word about the food drive spreads.

"The residents are contributing most of the donations, with the rest mainly coming from the staff, but we are looking for more outside donations as well," explained Engels. "We'll be giving what we collect to the Bread of Life Food Pantry at St. Ann's Church in Baldwin and the Edgett's Church food pantry in Luther. St. Ann's does so much for us, especially Fr. Ron (Schneider), and Edgett's Church is just starting their food pantry up so we wanted to help them get on their feet."

Engels said in a low-income area such as Lake County, a little kindness from those who can spare it can go a long way toward making the lives of those in need more manageable.

"We're a small town and when we all pull together, things can go smoothly," remarked Engels. "The nursing home's slogan is 'serving families with compassion and care,' and this food drive is part of that attitude."