Food pantry fund responds to food insecurity needs through Meigs County schools

The Daily Sentinel, Pomeroy, Ohio
·4 min read

Apr. 13—POMEROY — The COVID-19 pandemic reinforced how pervasive food insecurity is in local communities, including in Meigs County.

According to a news release from the Meigs County Community Fund (MCCF), "One of the best ways to address this need is by meeting families where they spend the most time.

Inspired by a school-based food distribution program in Athens City Schools, the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Fund, a new initiative of MCCF, has gathered community members across organizations and school districts to come together to address this pressing need experienced by Meigs County families, stated the news release.

"It is amazing to me how quickly this project has developed," said Laura Sheets, a committee member for MCCF and chair of the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Fund subcommittee. "It is so wonderful that everyone involved cares deeply about helping our school children and their families."

The second distribution from the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Fund will take place Thursday, April 15, from 4:30-6 p.m. at the Meigs Local District Office at 41765 Pomeroy Pike, Pomeroy, Ohio, formerly Salisbury Elementary. The pantry makes distributions on the third Thursday of every month on a first-come, first-served basis. The pantry is able to serve 150 families at the present time. Proof of Meigs County residency is required for service.

The Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Fund was created as an initiative of the Meigs County Community Fund (MCCF) through partnership between MCCF and the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio's I'm a Child of Appalachia® Fund.

According to the news release, the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Fund will support students and their families throughout the COVID-19 pandemic and beyond by addressing the critical need of food security. The pantry's goal is to assist families of school-age children dealing with food insecurity throughout Meigs County. It will provide a monthly, year-round distribution of healthy and nutritious food to school-age children and their families. Foods distributed include fresh eggs, milk, bread, and other healthy shelf-stable pantry items.

"The Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Fund will provide monthly food staples to families across Meigs County," shared Sheets. "We know many of our neighbors face food insecurity and this new Fund will help to address that need closest to the source."

The Fund was originally developed to serve the Meigs County community as a result of the impact of COVID-19. A large percentage of Eastern, Southern, Meigs, and Alexander Local students receive free and reduced-price lunch. The Meigs County Schools Food Pantry hopes to continue its efforts to reduce food insecurity in the present and future by supporting up to 200 families in the county each month.

In addition to funding provided by MCCF and the I'm a Child of Appalachia Fund of the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, additional funding was provided by the Sisters Health Foundation and many individual donors to support start-up costs including shelving, a commercial refrigerator and freezer, and food for distribution.

Monthly donations of food are being made to the Fund by Snowville Creamery and Heiner's Bakery of Athens. Powell's Food Fair and Walmart of Athens also help to support the pantry. Scot Gheen, Superintendent of Meigs Local School District, and John Hood, Commander of the American Legion Post 39, have also provided valuable support for the program by providing space for the pantry and many other services.

Members of the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Fund subcommittee include:

Robin Burrow, K-4 Principal, Eastern Local School District;

Tricia McNickle, Pre K-6 Principal, Southern Local School District;

Chrissy Musser, Food Service Director, Meigs Local School District;

Barbara Musser, Member of MCCF;

Paul Reed, Member of MCCF; and

Laura Sheets, Subcommittee Chair and Member of MCCF.

Anyone interesting in volunteering or helping with the food pantry in any way should contact one of these members or the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio at 740-753-1111 or info@ffao.org.

Gifts to the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Fund are tax deductible and can be made in many ways, including cash, bequests, and life insurance. To give online, visit www.AppalachianOhio.org. To mail your donation, please designate the Fund and mail to the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio, PO Box 456, Nelsonville, OH 45764.

For a limited time, all gifts to the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry Endowment Fund are eligible for a special match opportunity. The Endowment Fund was created to provide long-term permanent support to ensure continuity of this critical program, in addition to the current fund that supports day-to-day operations. The Endowment Fund was created with an initial gift from Joe Burrow, Cincinnati Bengals quarterback and 2019 Heisman Trophy winner. To learn more about how you can support the Fund with a matched donation, visit www.AppalachianOhio.org or call 740.753.1111.

About the Meigs County Community Fund

The Meigs County Community Fund was created in 2011 to increase and advance philanthropic activities in Meigs County. The Meigs County Community Fund works to attract philanthropic resources in the form of gifts, grants, or bequests to benefit the broader community.