While the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund may be known through its work in fighting against childhood hunger, this year the program has branched out. Over 1,100 blankets were distributed to the 17 school districts where the program is in place.
The Steven A Hunter Hope Fund was established Jan. 2006 in memory of Steven A Hunter. After his passing, his parents, Mark and Virgie Hunter, established the Hope Fund to assist those in need, hoping to continue their son’s legacy of loving the community and those within it.
The fund currently provides over 200,000 meals a year to over 1,000 students including all Scioto County schools and parts of Adams and Pike counties. The meals are distributed through ‘Power Packs,’ given out on Fridays to ensure students do not go hungry over the weekend. Each pack contains four pounds of food and four meals.
The Hunters became aware that some students on the program may not have adequate shelter or utilities to combat cold temperatures this winter and were moved to try and assist those students.
“One of our Power Pack coordinators at one of the schools brought it to our attention that they were some siblings in her district that lived with their grandmother, but she really didn’t have the resources to provide for them,” said Mark Hunter. “She came up with the idea for the blankets and we loved it so much that we decided to carry it over into all the schools.”
Purchased through a special fund, all of the students on the Power Pack program were gifted with their own fleece blanket to take home with them prior to the Holiday break. The blankets measured 5 X 6 feet and the students could choose between a red, blue, pink or purple blanket. Each blanket also featured the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund logo, sewn on by many volunteers throughout the districts.
“These blankets are something that these students can claim as their own, no matter where they go they can take these blankets with them,” said Hunter. “We added the logo to reinforce that these students belong to something, that there are lots of people out there who care about them a lot. The kids just seem to love them, we saw lots of them unroll the blankets and wrap them around their shoulders and head off to their classes that way.”
Sixty of the blankets found their way into the arms of students at South Webster Elementary. The district also stepped in to provide an additional 46 blankets to students who may not be part of the Power Pack program but have a need.
“We have a lot of kids really depend on the Power Packs to eat on the weekends. It’s not often that something happens, but if it does, they’ll ask us where their food is, it’s just something that is so needed,” said Elementary School Principal, Sandy Smith. “The Hunters are very genuine people, they’re just givers. They do it to honor their son and his spirit and we love them for it.”
The Hunters credit their work to God, the community members who support the project and the administration, teachers and volunteers who assist in distributing the food and those who worked to sew the logos to the blankets.
“It was a big project and we’re so happy that God gave us the strength to carry it out,” said Hunter. “We’re just so grateful to those in the community who support us and those within the schools who help out as well.”
For more information about the Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund, you can go online to www.stevenshopefund.org or by searching “Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund,” on Facebook.
Reach Ciara Conley at 740-981-6977, Facebook “Ciara Conley - Daily Times,” and Twitter @PDT_Ciara.