PORTSMOUTH — Local families in need of fresh food can stop by Spartan Municipal Stadium Wednesday morning to pick up food boxes.
Hosted by the Community Action Organization of Scioto County, the event will be held from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. or until supplies run out.
The drive-thru event, held on a weekly basis dependent on supply, has become increasingly popular throughout the coronavirus pandemic said Luanne Valentine.
“Food insecurity has become more prevalent during the pandemic,” Valentine, CAO Workforce Services Director said Tuesday. “We’re happy that we are able to provide those food boxes. Whenever the Ohio Association of Food Banks reaches out that they have extra food boxes that maybe another county has turned away, we always try to take them.
The stadium serves as a good location for the events, its parking lot wrapping around and allowing quick access to supplies. She said it has kept traffic from entering busier city streets as well.
CAO has been receiving 1,200 food boxes each week, sending extras to its partner the Potter’s House Ministries when it can.
This increase in supply could help alleviate some of the stresses that many throughout Scioto and the tri-state are facing when it comes to rates of food insecurity. Much work is needed however, 2018 reports from Feeding America finding that just under $6.6 million is needed to meet food needs in Scioto.
A problem throughout the tri-state area, the most recent 2019 Feeding America found the county led Ohio with a food insecurity rate of 19.7% when the state average was 13.9%. Neighboring counties- Adams and Pike in Ohio, Lewis and Greenup in Kentucky- are also reported similar measures.
More children, 26% of the population, encounter food insecurity across the board as the county again ranks near the top in Ohio. Slightly less than 19% of Ohio children fell under this category in 2018 and an additional $767.7 million is needed to meet food needs.
The pandemic’s role, as Valentine said previously has brought food insecurity to new heights, has led the organization to publish updated projections for this year. As expected, the picture is worse across the board.
Even in Delaware County, an area of Columbus suburbs is projected to see its lowest state county rate of 7.6% increase to 9.6% in 2021. Estimates for Scioto and other southern Ohio counties are to be over 20% this year, child food insecurity to 29.7% for Scioto.
To meet more of these needs, Valentine said the organization has underwent evolution over the past five years. It is very active during the summer in stepping in to provide meals to children when school is not in session. CAO has expanded into other congregate settings, such as senior living residences, and a mobile farmers market.
In order to participate in Wednesday’s food drive, participants must bring a valid form of identification to show Scioto County residency and meet income standards. Families can receive fresh fruits and vegetables through the food boxes and now dairy products.
An application available on the CAO website also must be printed out and brought to the event held at 101 Boundary St. Families are instructed to remain in their vehicles and to not congregate after receiving supplies.
Reach Patrick Keck (740)-353-3101 ext. 1931, by email at email@example.com, or on Twitter @pkeckreporter.
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