In early 2014, the United Way of Pickaway County in partnership with Mid-Ohio Food Bank hosted a series of six meetings called Hunger Conversations. Representatives came from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, Pickaway County social service providers, local businesses, public health and government offices with a goal of better understanding food insecurity in the county, identify barriers and gaps, and develop actions to end hunger together. Top actions emerged, included developing a service directory, improving access and alternative services to food, creating a county-wide client survey, and creating a united front…Pickaway Hunger United Group – H.U.G.
Besides the creation of a service directory on the local library’s website, the Community Resource Directory has been revamped and placed on both the PICCA and Family and Children Council websites. Additionally, 15,000 quad-fold pocket directories were printed, most of which have been distributed to county residents – though copies are still available. Interested parties –individuals, businesses or organizations – should call Linda Stanton at PICCA (740-477-1655.)
Working with a number of local leaders, Pickaway H.U.G. brings awareness to our community’s issue with hunger. The long-term goals are simple: to increase availability of food; to alleviate duplicate services; and to provide value-added services.
Its first major project kicked off in July 2016 with the distribution of fresh produce. Mid-Ohio Foodbank makes deliveries to a facility located at PICCA the second and fourth Thursday of each month. Produce is then divided for pickup by food pantries located throughout the county. These pantries in turn distribute the produce to its clients. While in its infancy, reports show at least 1500 people served in total each Thursday of the fresh produce distribution.
Think about this:
- Kids in school cafeterias have collected ketchup packs from meal trays. You wonder why? Often, that’s their dinner.
- Look at the meal in front of you. Ask yourself: How would I survive on $5 per day for food?” That’s how much a person gets who receives food assistance benefits
- Statistically, nearly 33% of food requests are for children and 19% are for senior citizens? Over 102,000 meals were home-delivered to Pickaway County seniors in 2015 – that’s nearly a 10,000 meal increase just since 2013!