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Harvest for Hunger kicks off campaign

By William K. Alcorn, Youngstown Vindicator

980 days ago   Article ID# 1466164
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Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley

YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO (Youngstown Vindicator) - The Caring Hands food pantry at First Church of Christ in East Palestine is one of the 173 food-distribution organizations served by Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley, which kicked off its 21st annual Harvest for Hunger campaign Wednesday.

Harvest for Hunger is a monthlong food and funds drive in March that helps replenish the food bank’s shelves during the spring and summer months when donations traditionally taper off.

Caring Hands has served up to 750 people in the few hours it is open the first Monday of every month, said Trudy Mackall, food-pantry leader.

Consumers use shopping carts to pick up food and students from East Palestine and Crestview high schools help push the carts and unload them, she said.

Donna Smith, both a consumer and a volunteer at Caring Hands, said, “I help because there is such a need.”

Second Harvest provided 9 million pounds of food to its 153 food-distribution organizations in Columbiana, Mahoning and Trumbull counties in 2011 that fed 13,000 people a week.

That was a phenomenal accomplishment, said Michael Iberis, Second Harvest executive director, who praised the corporate sponsors, the food distribution organizations, the volunteers and staff.

Iberis, in a Vindicator story about the new Feeding America BackPack Program in Struthers schools, showed how that program was meeting a need.

The BackPack Program provides 5 or 6 pounds of food for children to take home over the weekend.

One Struthers 8-year-old said, “This is really going to help my mom and dad.”

“Kids are growing up too fast when they have to think about where their next meal will come from,” Iberis said. “Here is a little girl who understands that her parents are having trouble putting food on the table.”

The 2012 Harvest for Hunger sponsors are Giant Eagle, 21 WFMJ-TV and WBCB, The Vindicator, Cumulus Radio Stations Y103, HOT 101 and K105, and United Food and Commercial Workers Local 880.

Last year, Giant Eagle generated $52,337 during the Harvest for Hunger that purchased $785,000 worth of food, said Rick Banks, manager of the Howland Giant Eagle store.

Giant Eagle clerks ask patrons when they check out if they want coupons to donate $1, $5 or $10 to Second Harvest, and the amount is added to their bill. The stores also have bins for donated nonperishable food.

Iberis said area Sparkle Markets also are accepting donations in the same manner as Giant Eagle.

21 WFMJ-TV and WBCB has raised nearly $300,000 and more than 320,000 pounds of food over five years with its Project: Feed Our Valley, said spokesman Mike Case.

“The word needs to get out. We want to make the Second Harvest Food Bank a model for the country,” Case said.

Individuals or organizations interested in conducting a food or funds drive to benefit the Harvest for Hunger campaign can call Rita Brady at 330-792-5522, ext. 11.

Copyright 2014 Youngstown Vindicator   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 980 days ago   Article ID# 1466164

Second Harvest Food Bank of the Mahoning Valley    Visit Website

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