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Mayor David Maher kicked off a food drive today to run through Oct. 1 to benefit Cambridge food pantries. He will be collecting donations of nutritious, non-perishable items in the Mayor’s Office on the second floor of City Hall, 795 Massachusetts Ave., Central Square, during regular City Hall hours, and on a nearby city street Sept. 19 for Park(ing) Day.

“As the colder weather and the holidays approach, the demand on our food pantries inevitably increases. We live in a very generous community, and our hope is to alleviate that need with the donations we collect throughout the month,” Maher said in a press release. “This September is an opportunity for the city to both celebrate our existing public spaces with Park(ing) Day as well as draw attention to the hard work that often goes unseen at our local food pantries.”

Park(ing) Day is a global event in which metered parking spaces are transformed temporarily into small public parks to spark critical thinking and conversation about urban environments and to allow for creative civic and community engagement. Nine years ago, Rebar, a San Francisco based art and design studio, started Park(ing) Day to challenge how people think about the way streets are used, and the event quickly spread throughout the United States, and the world. It is now an annual event that occurs on the third Friday of September to elevate and celebrate public spaces. As of 2011, there were more than 975 Park(ing) Day installations around the world.

Park(ing) Day transforms parking spaces into other uses for the day. Mayor David Maher is setting up a parklet Sept. 19 for use as a food donation drop-off.

Park(ing) Day transforms parking spaces into other uses for the day. Mayor David Maher is setting up a parklet Sept. 19 for use as a food donation drop-off.

With 35 community organizations, businesses and city departments transforming 46 parking spots in Cambridge’s third annual celebration the day, the city is claiming to have “more spots than anybody else worldwide.” A map of Park(ing) Day sites worldwide is here; zoom in on Cambridge or search for the city name to see its parklets located and described.

“I hope that our food drive, as well as our space on Park(ing) Day, will not only collect a great deal of donations, but will also serve as a celebration of the generosity and dedication of our food pantries to help our most vulnerable populations,” Maher said. “I would like to invite residents of the entire city, its employees, businesses and organizations to bring a donation of a non-perishable item to our office, or our Park(ing) space on Sept. 19.”

He called Cambridge food pantries “an essential resource that helps support low-income families, people with disabilities, the unemployed, seniors with limited mobility” and others, and said the local food pantries also offer resources for housing stability, access to higher education programs and advocacy for the needs of their visitors.

For information, call the Mayor’s Office at (617) 349-4321 or send email here.

This post was written from a press release.