LUCASVILLE —If you saw the Ohio State University football truck in Scioto County Wednesday, you did not see things, as that very truck that normally holds football equipment heading for a football game was full of food for those in need in the county.
The food was from the student life group at Ohio State for their Day of Giving. The OSU Student Life organization participated in the university’s Day of Giving and discovered that food insecurity in Pike, Jackson, and Scioto counties has increased to 23% during the COVID crisis. To help address the need, the Student Life group packed shelf-stable meals to distribute to partnering agencies within the three counties.
“These are packaged meals that don’t have to be cooked. Primarily rice, beans, dehydrated vegetables and seasoning. Then they put six meals in a bag to distribute meals to a family,” said both Treva Williams and Dennis DeCamp extension educators for The Ohio State University Extension Office in Scioto County. “We have contacted multiple groups throughout the county to see if they would be interested in having some of these to distribute through their foodbanks or distribution system.”
About 120,000 meals were delivered across the three counties Wednesday, with Scioto agencies receiving their deliveries at the Scioto County Fairgrounds in Lucasville. The shipment arrived on the truck that OSU typically uses to transport football equipment to Buckeye games. DeCamp said that Scioto County received 66,000 meals as the distribution is by population in the counties. He said that each box weighed 33 pounds apiece, 36 bags in each box and six meals in each bag, totaling 216 meals each box.
“The good thing about this program is that these meals are shelf-stable, so people don’t have to use them right now,” Williams said. “A lot of times we get fresh fruits and dairy products, and we have to use them, or they spoil. This can be that in-between piece. They’ll have it available to use it whenever works best for their family.”
Seventeen partnering agencies in Scioto County received the meal deliveries, including the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center in New Boston and other partnering agencies included the Potter’s House, Steven Hunter Hope Fund, Salvation Army and more.
DeCamp explained how the boxes came to fruition and that OSU Student Life groups spent around $50,000 to buy the food.
“The student life organization there at Ohio State University campus did not buy them packed that way. They literally packed each and every bag,” DeCamp said. “They bought 50-pound bags of lentils, beans, dried fruit and vegetables and used a funnel as they packaged them all together by themselves.”
On the day of delivery at the fairgrounds, there were some local children from different schools that did not have school that day, along with some 4H parents, who came out to the fairgrounds to help with the distribution of the food boxes. DeCamp said that it was well organized, and he was quick to mention how they appreciate the ESC’s cooperation and what they did for them. The boxes will all be utilized within the county and since the food has a two-year shelf life on it, some of the groups that received boxes can put them up for when they are needed.
Williams also credited the amazing partnership between OSU Student Life, OSU Extension, the South Central Ohio Educational Service Center, Scioto County Fairgrounds and other community agencies.
Reach Kimberly Jenkins (740)353-3101 ext. 1928
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