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The Lompoc Grocery Outlet store once again set a new record for donations with its annual Independence From Hunger Food Drive, and three local service organizations are set to reap the benefits.

The store, owned by married couple Aaron and Alix Crocker, brought in $13,371 during this year’s campaign, which lasted a little more than a month and concluded on July 31. That total easily surpassed last year’s record of $9,042, and continued a trend of establishing a new record each year since the first drive in 2015.

The beneficiaries of the fifth annual drive are the Lompoc Food Pantry, which is slated to receive more than 4,300 pounds of food and weekly bread deliveries; the Lompoc Family YMCA, which is set to receive $3,000 for programs that focus on food education; and Planting a Seed, which will receive $3,000 to continue its work in providing meals, care packages and other services for Lompoc’s homeless community.

“These organizations are doing the real work, and we're proud to have an opportunity to help,” the Crockers said in a joint statement.

The goal for this year’s drive, according to the Crockers, was to raise $11,111.11. Since that goal hadn’t been reached with one week left in the drive, the store owners pledged to match every donation up to $1,000 for the final seven days. They also pledged $1 for every child that colored a picture and turned it in at the store.

“The community really went big,” the Crockers said.

The Independence From Hunger Food Drive is a national campaign with participation from more than 300 Grocery Outlet stores, according to the company. Grocery Outlet reported that it raised more than $2 million overall in last year's campaign, which benefited more than 400 organizations.

“We want to give a huge 'thank you' to everyone in town who came out and supported this campaign, our employees who kept on asking all month long, and the organizations that do such amazing work for Lompoc,” the Crockers said. “We're all in this together.”

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Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.

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