MECOSTA COUNTY — Meceola Central Dispatch is once again encouraging competition to benefit local residents in need in Mecosta and Osceola counties.

This is the fourth year for the Pack the Pantries competition, where area police and fire departments work to collect as many canned and non-perishable food items as possible until Nov. 19. Items will then be delivered to pantries on Nov. 21.

Items collected will be divided equally between St. Andrew’s Parish Manna Pantry in Big Rapids and Church of the First Born in Reed City. These pantries were chosen because they are in county seat cities and distribute to all families in need in each county.

Last year, 1,082 items were collected and distributed. Meceola Central Dispatch collected 587 items to win back the plaque from the Big Rapids Department of Public Safety, which won the 2014 competition.