Robert Kennedy once said, “Each time a man stands up for an ideal, or acts to improve the lot of others, or strikes out against injustice, he sends forth a tiny ripple of hope, and crossing each other from a million different centers of energy and daring, those ripples build a current that can sweep down the mightiest walls of oppression and resistance.”
When I read this quote, I was instantly reminded of Mark and Virgie Hunter, who have worked tirelessly to create the Stephen A. Hunter Hope Fund.
The Stephen A. Hunter Hope Fund supports local children in a capacity of different ways, but most known for a program within the organization that produces Stephen’s Power Packs. The program was originated a few years after the parents of the late Stephen Hunter formed the philanthropy organization and began assisting local students. They have since taken on the great challenge of feeding local children.
Virgie Hunter approached her husband after learning about the problem many elementary school kids face with hunger over the weekends. Mark heard her out and now, years later, the two have a well established program that currently feeds 500 kids a year and they are only looking to expand.
A Power Pack is a bag of nutritious food given to hungry children each Friday during the school year to ensure they have something to eat during the weekends. Each Power Pack contains approximately five pounds of food, enough for four meals. The food included in the Power Pack varies from nine to 12 shelf-stable food items that are easy to prepare.
While the organization works continuously to raise funds and apply for grant money, it is something that only grows in cost, because it grows in size.
The amazing thing about the Hunters is that they aren’t satisfied with feeding a group of kids, or even a school of kids; they want every child to have the means to a meal. I have no doubt in my mind that if the Hunters had the means themselves, they’d expand to feed every child in the country, because after every step they take, they immediately look at the next four coming.
The organization continues plans for expansion and growth in Scioto County schools. Even with continuous fundraising, it is a challenge.
Anyone can make a difference and join the program, however. An individual Power Pack only costs $3, so a child’s entire year can be sponsored for only $120, which is the basic level sponsorship the Stephen A. Hunter Hope Fund offers. No funds raised through grant writing and fundraising efforts are guaranteed to return each year, which is why the individual sponsorships are important for the organization.
If each meal handed out is one of the ripples of hope that Kennedy spoke of, Mark and Virgie Hunter, along with the support of a gracious community, are responsible for a current of 71,000 meals that have changed the lives of over 500 kids in the past year alone. With more community support, the Stephen A Hunter Hope Fund can not only sustain their current role in the lives of children, but continue the momentum of their growth, until they reach a point when no kid returns to school hungry and eager for lunch.
More information on The Stephen A Hunter Hope Fund can be found at www.stevenshopefund.org. Donations can also be made by visiting Hunter-Williams Insurance at 837 6th St, Portsmouth, OH.
Joseph Pratt can be reached at the Portsmouth Daily Times 740-353-3101, EXT 287, or by Twitter @JosephPratt03.