People in Portsmouth may have got a bit of a scare Tuesday, due to a group of trucks and the National Guard pulling in the parking lot of Port 45.
The National Guard was not there because of the Coronavirus but to deliver loads of extra food being provided to the Steven A. Hunter Power Pack children.
Mark Hunter, who oversees the Power Pack program, shared he had been talking with the FreeStore FoodBank about getting extra food supplies to Scioto County Power Pack children during this time.
Governor DeWine has mobilized Ohio National Guard Troops around the state and approximately 50 have been assigned to the FreeStore FoodBank to help pack and distribute food. When the arrangements were finalized it was determined that the Guard would be required to deliver such a large supply of food boxes. This is in addition to the Power Packs they receive to help them make it through these long days having to stay at home and possibly have very little or even no food to eat.
Hunter had to contact the local schools to come and pick up the food Tuesday when the Guard arrived in Portsmouth. This was not weekend packs like they were used to, but a big box of food and most schools needed at least two vehicles to be able to get it back to their schools. The schools will distribute the food boxes to the children along with their regular supply of Power Packs.
What was surprising, was the big trucks and equipment that rolled in bringing the food to town. Hunter said that it was overwhelming. Hunter shared, during a time when things are not normal, it is always great to see such a positive thing and to see how people reacted to seeing all this happening. He said that one man came close, but not too close to him and asked if he could take photos, because his grandkids were fascinated by the big trucks and equipment. However, some folks did get a bit scared, thinking that things had gotten so bad that the National Guard was here and set up to help.
Hunter said that the young men and women from the Guard were very happy to be there and help in the program, feeding the children. He said that they worked so quickly and in unison, to make sure all this food got loaded, so it could be sent out to the local children. He said the Guard was polite and so nice while working with all the folks that were there to pick up their food.
Leading the group from the National Guard was Sergeant first Class, Saunders from Grove City in the Columbus area, with Delta 237 SPT Battalion out of Hamilton, Ohio.
“So far, our troops have packed and delivered over a million pounds of food, including what we have here today. We’re here to help people out and get everything out to everybody,” Saunders said. “We usually maintain the equipment at the Calvary get sent out to the field and we feed the Calvery and distribute their ammunition in the bases that we go to. This is a completely different scope of what we are used to usually we are preparing for troop movements, so for us its learning curve to be able to turn around drop our guns off, take off our pads and be able to distribute and help the community within the state of Ohio and surrounding states.”
Hunter said, “The National Guard delivered 882 food boxes, one for every Steven’s Power Pack child in Scioto County. there were 12 skids with over 34,000 pounds of food. This was in addition to the Power Packs they get each week. We are so blessed to have such a strong partnership with the Cincinnati FreeStore.”
Hunter wanted to add that these are children in the Steven A. Hunter Power Pack program and are at risk of going hungry and that is how they get in this program. By working with local schools, they are able to find these children and help them by making sure they have food to eat, normally on the weekends when they are not in school, but now in this time, it is given to be used on whatever day the children may need to eat.
Hunter and his wife Virgie lost their son Steven, while he was in college and they have turned this terrible event into something positive by feeding so many local children. Steven was a kind and giving young man and now his parents are able to be like him, through this program. Hunter said that he and Virgie were so grateful for this extra food that came to this program and the National Guard who helped them be able to get it all-out there and delivered to help the children.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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