PDT Staff Writer
Nearly 3,000 food packs have been put into the hands of hungry children across Scioto County, thanks to efforts by Steven’s Power Pack Club through the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund along with the Ohio Association of Foodbanks and the FreeStore FoodBank. The packs consisted of excess food from a summer program and the daunting task for Mark and Virgie Hunter was to distribute it by the deadline of Aug. 31.
“After I was contacted by the FreeStore FoodBank and asked what I could do, I started reporting back what I thought we could do, and they obliged us in a big way,” Mark Hunter said, as boxes of food left Christ’s Community Church. “It was basically two phases. In the first phase we got in about 1,550 of them, but you had to set up sites. They had to be approved. They couldn’t be food pantry sites. There were different things that had to go into it. The next round, they called us, and the state had contacted those regional food banks that had actually done something before. And so they offered us more. I said, ‘yes, we will take it.’”
Hunter said the next job was setting up sites and informing the state where the food packs were going to go.
“In the second load they had at first offered 2,000, and then they ended up cutting it to 1,300. They said they must have miscounted their inventory,” Hunter said. “The other catch was that it came in bulk and we had to pack it. But God looked out for us. That came out on a Wednesday, and that following Friday was Shawnee State University’s Community Day of Service, so we had 34 Shawnee State students up here. We packed 1,300 of them in less than two hours.”
Each pack contained enough for two days of meals for two - two breakfasts; two lunches; and two dinners, almost 6,000 meals.
Peggy Rice of Portsmouth Metropolitan Housing Authority said she met Mark Hunter at a Portsmouth Rotary meeting.
“It was one of those things,” Rice said. “You know who has the same missions in life that you have, and everybody needs a little help. And it’s getting worse. More people are needing help.”
Rice said she was excited because of the ability to feed hundreds of children, thanks to the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund.
“This is the first time we’ve worked with Mark,” Rice said. “But because of what they have done all year long we have benefited from it. And now we’re going to be able to feed 400 kids at our sites. We house about 3,300 across the county - a lot of those elderly - we’ve got a lot of families with a lot of needs, so we were tickled pink.”
Portsmouth West Elementary School guidance counselor Becky Reiser was helping Christ’s Community Church Pastor Rick Clark load her vehicle with food packs.
“This could not have been possible without the help of the staff at Christ’s Community Church,” Hunter said. “Without their assistance, time, effort, and facilities we could not have distributed almost 3,000 packs to feed the hungry children of Scioto County throughout the month of August.”
Hunter summed up his feelings.
“God just hit us over the head with a major blessing,” Hunter said.
Frank Lewis may be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 232, or at firstname.lastname@example.org.