As residents navigate the changes that COVID-19 has had on their daily lives, Miss Valley established a way to make sure canned food donations were still being collected and distributed to those who need them.
Tory Donini, Miss Valley 2020, is a junior at Valley High School and is involved in Volleyball, National Honors Society and Prom Committee, while serving as Junior Class President and 4-H teen leader for the Indian Clover Tribe.
Donini worked to hold a drive-thru canned food drive which will now continue each week and be known as Feed Your Neighbor Friday. Donini said each River Days contestant will hold a canned food drive at the destination of their choice while accepting donations in a drive-thru fashion to ensure the safety of the community.
“We found a way to abide by the restrictions set in place by Governor Mike DeWine,” said Donini. “Those willing to participate and help serve the community can drive by the destination and drop off their donations or give a cash donation! With these drives, we will be able to help those in the community that cannot get to the store or do not have the resources to supply their family with food at this time.”
Donini stated that after her initial drive was held on April 3, she was able to donate between 400-500 non-perishable items and $205 in cash donations to the Emmanuel United Methodist Church in Lucasville. Donini said all donations are supplied by her community and stated she could not have made the drive a success without their generosity.
“Without my tribe having my back I would not have been able to be as successful as I was in collecting donations. Truly the support of the community is what will drive this project and allow it to flourish,” said Donini.
Donini said her drive aims to serve all of Scioto County, but a goal of hers would be to see it expand outside of the 12 districts and start occurring all throughout Ohio. “We have the ability to take this project far, and with the willpower of our neighboring communities, the success could be overwhelming. All it takes is initiative and drive,” said Donini.
For this drive Donini partnered with the Counseling Center, Friends of Portsmouth and the Ohio State Patrol.
“Without their help and abundant resources, the expansion of the drive-thru food drive would have never taken place. Their partnership has ensured that not only myself, but the rest of the River Days candidates, are able to hold a drive at the destination of their choosing and will be able to disperse their donations to a place of their choosing,” said Donini.
Donini stated much of her efforts have been made possible thanks to members of the Ohio State Patrol. “On Friday, April 3, I specifically worked with Trooper Stefan Sprigs of the Ohio State Patrol. He was a huge help in not only gathering the donations but also in ensuring that I would be able to successfully transport the goods,” said Donini. “In addition to Mr. Spriggs, Lieutenant Shawn Kelley aided in the success of the first Feed Your Neighbor Friday Food Drive. His tremendous efforts to launch the drive and help in the expansion are undoubtedly appreciated by not only myself but the rest of the River Days contestants as he continues to make efforts to ensure that we are all successful in our service.”
Donini stated she was first inspired to begin her food drive after seeing reoccurring posts on social media.
“Knowing that there were people out there that are struggling to not only feed themselves but their families as well, took a huge toll on my heart. I knew something needed to be done, but I truly did not know how I would be able to pull anything off with all the restrictions that Ohio is under. With a bit of time though, the idea arose. My pageant team and I realized that plenty of businesses have had to convert into a drive-thru or curbside business in order to supply their customers with what they are in need of and to continue gathering revenue. We figured, why couldn’t we adopt this strategy?” said Donini “So that is exactly what we did, and it has been overwhelming successful thus far.”
Donini feels that at this time it is important to abide by Governor Mike DeWine’s orders to social distance and stay at home whenever possible and to lend a hand to those struggling during these times.
“Ensuring that you are quarantined and out of the way of any potential carriers can and will help to diminish the coronavirus,” said Donini. “It all comes down to support at this time. That is all anyone needs. Many are struggling right now, but we all just have to be willing to lend a hand. That is what Feed Your Neighbor Friday is all about!
Donini said her family is more than proud of her efforts to establish the drive. “They love that even with the obstacles that have been placed in our way, we still have the ability to make a difference. All it took was perspective, and that is what we all have to remember,” said Donini. “Looking at it from the outside in, I choose to see a way to help and heal, rather than to hurt and dwell. They condone my efforts, and I am very appreciative that they regard that decision with pride.”
Donini said the other River Days contestants and herself were doing their best to take initiative at this time. “It is evident to all of us that we have to take action in order to support and love on our community,” said Donini
Reach: Ivy Potter(740) 353-3101 Extension 1932
© 2020 Portsmouth Daily Times, all rights reserved