A benefit for Ozarks Food Harvest — which provides food to needy households — will begin Oct. 5.

McDonald’s locations across the Ozarks, including Houston, are offering customers one free small coffee in exchange for a canned good for Ozarks Food Harvest.

This is the eighth consecutive year for “Cans for Coffee,” which runs through Oct. 25. Patrons are able to bring nonperishable food donations to the front counter or drive-through window at any local McDonald’s restaurant to receive one small coffee. Free beverages include lattes, hot chocolate, McCafe® coffee, mochas, iced coffee and pumpkin spice lattes.

“Cans for Coffee has become one of the largest annual food drives in our community. This partnership with McDonald’s of the Ozarks has been invaluable to The Food Bank,” said Denise Gibson, development and communication director at Ozarks Food Harvest. “Cans for Coffee is a great way for members our community to join together by bringing canned food items to feed our neighbors in need, all while enjoying a delicious cup of coffee or cocoa.”

More than 60 local McDonald’s collect the nonperishable food donations, and Ozarks Food Harvest distributes the food across its network of more than 200 food pantries and hunger-relief programs in 28 counties.

Food drive organizers hope to collect at least 45,000 pounds of food, the equivalent of 37,500 meals, to help feed children, families and seniors in need during the upcoming holiday season.

Ozarks Food Harvest requests food donations rich in protein like peanut butter, tuna, salmon and other canned meat. Donations of canned beans, soups and stews, vegetables and fruits are also requested.

Last year, more than 45,000 pounds of food was collected. Since 2008, McDonald’s of the Ozarks has collected more than 185,000 pounds of food — nearly 155,000 meals — from community members through Cans for Coffee.

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