Eight years and 207,000 plus meals later and the Steven A. Hunter Powerpack Program is stronger than ever.
Jay Daehler, who was a close friend of Steven during their childhood years is one of the volunteers of the annual Steven Hunter Memorial Tennis Tournament which raises money for the Powerpack Program. Saturday was the this year’s tournament which, according to Daehler set an all time fundraising record of over $26,000. This money will equate into 34,000 meals for area students.
The Powerpack Program provides weekend meals to local children who, without these meals, may not have one until they return to school on Monday. According to Mark Hunter, local insurance agent and Steven’s father, they are now in every elementary school in Scioto and Pike counties, as well as two elementary schools in Adams County. “This isn’t just Scioto County anymore,” Hunter said.
Hunter said some the of things he has witnessed and the stories he has heard is “just heartbreaking.” He said he is blessed that God has given him the opportunity to help as many students as he can. ” God has blessed us,” Hunter said. “We’ve been able to keep growing and adding schools.”
The Steven A. Hunter Powerpack Program is actually a third party non profit of the Free Store Food Bank, according to Hunter. He said since the program started in 2010, over 207,000 meals have been distributed to local school children who otherwise may not have had a meal.
Both Hunter and Daehler say it wouldn’t be possible without the generosity of the community. They said the businesses come together to donate and contribute year after year, with many increasing their donations. And the players. Daehler said without them, the memorial tournament would not be possible.
Steven and Daehler played tennis together at Portsmouth High School and were very close, according to Daehler. According to Hunter, his son was number one on the PHS tennis team, making this tournament in his name a good fit.
Daehler said the time and effort Mark Hunter puts into the cause every year is amazing. “What Mark has done is just amazing,” Daehler said. “It’s just so awesome the amount of time and effort that he puts into it.”
Although the Powerpacks get most of the money and attention, Hunter said they still supply clothing and supplies to children in need as well. He said the tournament actually predates the tournament by three years, beginning in 2007, while the Powerpack started in 2010. “There is so much that is needed,” Hunter said. “I just hope we can help more and keep adding schools.”
Reach Mark Richard at 740-370-0707