For Barbara Rhome and her family, a box of food from the local pantry means one less week a month she has to worry about her family going hungry.
“I just need food,” said Rhome, who said she has health problems. “We go to different pantries and it does help.”
Her family was one of the 400 expected to be helped Tuesday by Concord Hospitality, Catholic Charities and Feed the Children. The groups got together to supply boxes full of non-perishable food and hygiene products to those in need.
A new study released this week by Feeding America found 16.1 percent, or 22,340 people, in Clark County are “food insecure,” or at risk of going hungry. In Champaign County, 14.6 percent, or 5,870 people, face the same issue. Many of them don’t qualify for federal nutrition programs and must rely on charitable assistance to meet the meal gap, according to the study.
The event Tuesday was scheduled to begin at 10 a.m., but an hour before a line of cars already winded around the building on East Columbia Street.
Concord Hospitality, which operates Marriott hotels, had volunteers directing traffic and loading cars with the 25-pound boxes meant to feed a family of four for a week.
“We’re hoping just to be able to supplement that and give people a little extra that they didn’t necessarily think they were getting,” said Becky Krieger, general manager of the Courtyard by Marriott in Springfield.
It’s the first time Concord Hospitality has hosted an event like this in Clark County. Krieger said she was surprised by the turnout.
“It’s been amazing,” she said. “This is obviously something that people are excited to get (and) their family’s in need.”
Donations make it possible for the groups to provide this assistance. For more information on how to help, visit feedthechildren.org or a local Marriott hotel.