You have reached your limit of free articles this month.

Enjoy unlimited access to

Starting at just 99¢ for 8 weeks.


  • ePAPER

You have read of premium articles.

Get unlimited access to all of our breaking news, in-depth coverage and interactive features. Starting at just 99c for 8 weeks.


Welcome to

Your source for Clark and Champaign counties’ hometown news. All readers have free access to a limited number of stories every month.

If you are a News-Sun subscriber, please take a moment to login for unlimited access.

Food relief drive comes up short

Springfield charity says need increased as cash donations decreased.

It is not a happy New Year for Keith Williamson, director of Second Harvest Food Bank and Regional Director for Catholic Charities of Southwest Ohio.

Second Harvest’s year-end holiday food drive, co-sponsored by the Springfield News-Sun, rendered only about half of what the goal for the program was. As of late last week, the food bank had received $16,267.40 from 319 donors.

“We got another $1,400 from people dropped off directly last week, but we’re still shy about $18,000 at this point,” said Williamson. “As we get deeper into the winter, some agencies like us are just going to have to tighten things up. We have no other choice. We can only work with what we have.”

While funds decrease in challenging economic times, the need grows. For example, when a cold snap hits like what has been experienced that last couple of days, emergency shelters open. One is currently operating at the Salvation Army headquarters on Plum Street. And Williamson gets calls for help from them.

“I have already offered them sandwiches and stuff, so that is beyond what our normal needs are,” he said.

In times of shortfalls, only so much can be done before the lack of food reaches those who need it.

“It ebbs and flows,” said Williamson. “Last summer, we had a high because of the governor’s executive order, giving $1 million to food banks across the state of Ohio. It was evenly distributed, so we got $76,000 to buy food. It was the first summer since I’ve been here where we didn’t face a shortage of food, and it helped us going into the fall.

“Now we are facing the opposite trend heading into the winter.”

Local companies are a big help, but Williamson said, “That is hit and miss as well. It has to do with their bottom lines, like everyone else.”

Kroger, for example, has a first-year program where its customers can donate to the food bank at its cash registers, although Williamson won’t know how that went for another few days.

He’s also looking for new ways to raise funds.

“We can’t do much in the winter, but we’re always looking for new ideas,” he said.

Williams said that they are extending their Empty Bowls program, which is run annually at Wittenberg and Urbana universities, for the first time at Ohio Hi-Point Career Center in Bellefontaine. They also have a car show in June at the C.J. Brown Reservoir.

“At the end, they are going to allow cars to drive across the dam, which will be something to see,” said Williamson.

Still, success is sometimes a matter of timing … and food storage capability.

“We had some donors step up with food donations, but a lot of it is frozen, and we don’t have place to store it,” he said.

What can be done to make up for the shortfall?

“Instead of giving someone four- or five-day supplies, you give them a three-day supply,” said Williamson.

Williamson remains optimistic.

“You never know where relief is going to come from,” he said. “Something else will come through.”

Reader Comments ...

Next Up in Community News

You can now rent dressed up llamas to attend your wedding 
You can now rent dressed up llamas to attend your wedding 

If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, you now can have llamas at your wedding. As first noted in, Mtn Peaks Therapy Llamas & Alpacas will provide llamas (or alpacas) to make a wedding or reception memorable. The non-profit organization specializes in animal-assisted therapy utilizing llamas and alpacas.  The website details...
Dayton man mauled by dog that neighbors had worried about
Dayton man mauled by dog that neighbors had worried about

The pit bull that mauled a Dayton man to death on Tuesday morning resided at a home that has been the source of a previous animal complaints and at least one dog bite. Dayton police responded to an alley near 345 Middle St. in northwest Dayton after receiving a frantic 911 call about a man yelling for help as he was being attacked by a dog. Police...
Man tossing child into frigid waters off Boston caught on camera, charged
Man tossing child into frigid waters off Boston caught on camera, charged

A 29-year-old man was arrested and accused of throwing his girlfriend’s 4-year-old into the frigid waters off Constitution Beach in East Boston on Monday, according to Massachusetts State Police. Mikel Anthony Hilerio dropped his girlfriend off at her job before taking her 4-year-old twin boys to the beach and putting them in the water, troopers...
VIDEO: Promo released of ‘Dirty Dancing’ remake
VIDEO: Promo released of ‘Dirty Dancing’ remake

ABC’s remake of the iconic 1987 movie “Dirty Dancing” is coming to the small screen in May, and fans of the original are getting to see a preview. People reported that the first promo video of what’s being called a three-hour musical event was released Tuesday. The story is the same as the original film, in which Frances &ldquo...
Ohio launches ‘Purple Star’ to recognize military-friendly schools
Ohio launches ‘Purple Star’ to recognize military-friendly schools

The state has launched a Purple Star Award to recognize military-friendly schools in Ohio, school and military leaders say. In an announcement Tuesday at the National Museum of the U.S. Air Force, officials pointed to the challenges children in military families face as many transfer to multiple schools during a parent’s career in uniform and...
More Stories