LANCASTER, Pa. (WHTM) – The Water Street Mission started taking donations for its annual food drive, and this year, it’s chasing a lofty goal.

“We’re looking to raise 110,000 pounds of food this year,” Matt Clement, the marketing director for the Mission, said.

That’s the wanted number for less than two months. Wednesday kicked off the food drive, and it runs through Dec. 22.

The Mission will collect non-perishable food items.

Homelessness is a growing issue in Lancaster, but Clement believes locals are more than willing to lend a helping hand.

“I feel like Lancaster County responds in a special way to people in need. I don’t know why but the heart of our county is incredible,” he said.

Those in need can benefit from the 300 meals the Mission provides on a daily basis. However, that’s not the only help they need.

“A lot of our guests are struggling to find housing that is sustainable for them. Supports that were there from Covid are drying up. Health insurance and different benefits are going away,” Clement said.

The Mission says it’s been busy this year, especially over the last few months. It expects to get busier.

“Typically once it gets colder we see a bump but really since the beginning of September we’ve seen just a continual rise,” Clement said.

Clement said the emergency shelter is completely full, and the residential shelter is filling up fast.

He says the Mission can hold up to 220 people at a time.

While this year’s food drive goal is ambitious, supporting partners think it’s achievable.

“I think 110,000 pounds it’s a lot but I think it’s definitely doable,” Doni Lee Spiegel with AAA Central Penn said.

That’s one of 30 different locations where people can drop off their food donations.

“We know when we put this call to action out our members will respond. They know it feels good to donate and help people who need a little extra hand this time of year,” Spiegel said.

To find a donation drop-off location near you, click here.