This year Oakwood Cares was proud to carry on its tradition of a fall food drive for the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, capped off with a volunteer event at the facility. The committee asked all of the sites and the corporate office to collect canned food and other nonperishable goods, as well as toiletry items.
The Mid-Ohio Food Bank was established in 1980 with one simple goal: end hunger. The bank strives to “help stabilize families, connect hungry neighbors with community services to help them toward economic sufficiency, and energize the community to address root causes of hunger so everyone thrives.” Every single day the bank distributes enough food to provide 140,000 meals, giving out over 70 million pounds of food a year. The Mid-Ohio Food Bank has become a charitable staple of the Central Ohio Area because of their tireless work toward ending hunger.
Oakwood came together to donate a huge collection of items, ranging from traditional canned foods like vegetables and highly-needed canned meats, to less thought about but necessary items like paper towels and deodorant. Altogether the company collected over five hundred pounds of food and goods to donate – what a feat!
At the end of the food drive, Oakwood Cares organized a day to donate not only those goods, but their time to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank. The bank requires a large number of volunteers to run effectively and serve as many people as they do, so the team at Oakwood packed up the items we had donated and headed down to the pantry in Grove City. Over a dozen Oakwood team members took time out of their busy day to help out!
Once at the pantry, we dropped off our donated items (all five hundred pounds of it!) and spent several hours volunteering. The volunteers got to work in several different sections of the bank, really letting us get a feel for how the program runs. Some volunteers manned stations for certain types of food, letting each family know how many items they were allocated that day. The amount that can be given out depends on family size and on how many items are available for distribution that day. For example, on the day we volunteered, families both large and small were able to receive two bread items.
The pantry operates like a grocery store, letting the guests choose what items they want. The guests are shopping for themselves, not just given an allocated set of foods—although volunteers are always available to help those who aren’t sure what to get. Other volunteers worked in the back of the pantry, assisting in some of the behind-the-scenes work that is crucial to the operation. Bread was sorted and arranged on shelves that could be rolled out to that part of the pantry, and bad produce was separated from good produce.
The experience of volunteering at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank was deeply rewarding – and available to everyone! Even if you weren’t able to volunteer with us this time, the bank is always looking for more volunteers. Find out how you can get involved on their website here.