Teaming up to fight hunger

Organizations feed those in need

By Ciara Conley - [email protected]

Volunteers assisting visitors with their groceries.

Volunteers assisting visitors with their groceries.

St. Francis Catholic Outreach Center (Catholic Social Services) and Molina Health teamed up on Thursday, Jan. 26 to provide those in need with food packs and groceries.

Food insecurity impacts the lives of millions of Americans every year. The United States Department of Agriculture reports that approximately 13 percent of American households are food insecure. Ohio communities face a significantly higher percentage of food insecure households at 16.1 percent.

In an effort to combat these percentages, Molina Health has been working with the outreach center to distributed pre-packaged meal bundles to those in need.

Molina employees in the Columbus district worked to prepare 1,000 meals, which are bundled into packages designed to serve a family of eight.

According to released materials, Molina Healthcare of Ohio has been providing government-funded care for low- income individuals since 2005. As of September 2016, the company serves approximately 339,000 members through Medicaid, Medicare, Medicare-Medicaid (Duals) and Health Insurance Exchange programs across the state.

“So what we (Molina) did was, we partnered with the Pack Shack, which is a non-profit focused on combating food insecurity and we hosted a “Packing Party,” altogether, Molina employees assembled 15,000 non-perishable and nutritious meals that will be distributed throughout the state during this year,” said Molina representative Jose Cos.

According to Cos, each meal provides at least 10 grams of protein per serving and includes 19 essential vitamins and minerals. In addition to the 1,000 meal bundles, Catholic Social Services Food Pantry also passed out grocery bundles. Both are served on a “first-come, first-serve,” basis until they run out.

“You don’t have to sign up, you don’t have to register, you just have to show up with your ID,” said Catholic Social Services Director, Barbara McKenzie. “And if you don’t have an ID, that’s okay too, we don’t turn anyone away.”

The Catholic Social Services Food Pantry is open twice a month on the first and last Thursday of the month but according to McKenzie, they do have an emergency food pantry available all month.

“Last year through our Food Pantry we served over 11,000 people,” said McKenzie. “We’re thankful for our partnerships with people and organizations, like Molina Health. Molina Health is interested in nutrition and stabilizing families so it’s great to have them recognize the need in our community and to have them partner with us.”

McKenzie said that donations are appreciated and can be made to St. Francis Catholic Outreach Center, 2311 Stockham Lane, Portsmouth or by visiting For more information, please call 740-353-3185.

Volunteers assisting visitors with their groceries. assisting visitors with their groceries.
Organizations feed those in need

By Ciara Conley

[email protected]