“Hunger is an issue that is year round. More people are more likely to ask for help or look for support during these holiday times, and people have come to depend on us having these resources, so it’s incredibly important for us to supply and have the items needed,” said Tyra Jackson, Second Harvest’s executive director. “We are grateful to serve the community this way, and at the same time we need the support of our community to allow us to continue to do this.”
The nonprofit hosts fundraisers throughout the year to pay for the holiday items, which takes about $25-30 per box to provide to families.
“We are asking the community to assist us with paying for the boxes and items... We need cash donations to help,” Jackson said.
The boxes will mainly include items to make a Thanksgiving meal, but also items to prepare other meals throughout the month. Each household will get a choice of a turkey or hen, and will also include shelf-stable items such as canned vegetables, canned fruit, gravy and cranberry sauce, fresh items such as eggs, margarine, celery and potatoes, as well as items like cereal, spaghetti, grains and others.
If any community member can’t make it to any of the distributions, they are encouraged to call the food bank, which will help them find a way to get what they need.
“I cannot stress enough that if people can’t make it during those times, they can call or come by and we will do our best to make sure they can get a holiday box so they can have that Thanksgiving dinner, share a moment with their family, and not have to stress,” Jackson said.
Jackson said inflation has “absolutely” affected the nonprofit. She said turkey prices have increased about 30-35% and eggs are up nearly 75 cents a dozen.
“When you go to the grocery, you see those increases, and we are feeling that same thing. We are not able to make a dollar stretch like we were. For every $1 we receive, we used to be able to provide six meals. Now, every dollar provides four meals,” she said. “The cost of the things that people need, what they expect to receive from us, has increased quite a bit.”
Jackson added they need the community’s “support more than ever” since they are now serving around 50,000 people compared to about 37,000 before the pandemic.
With inflation, the lack of resources for people that have decreased and some of the benefits no longer available, the food bank is now seeing more families, seniors, seniors taking care of their grandchildren, larger families, as well as people who didn’t need assistant before.
“We don’t want people to have to make a choice whether to pay for their utilities or rent. We want to make things a little bit easier for people, so if they do have the funds, they can put those towards that and not worry about food,” Jackson said. “We want to be able to support people the best as we can, and we know these times are often hard for many reasons and we want to take some of that stress away.”
To help donate, call 937-325-8715; mail a check to Second Harvest Food Bank of Clark, Champaign and Logan Counties, 20 N. Murray St., Springfield, OH 45503; or visit the website at www.theshfb.org/donate.
The food bank will have two distribution dates per county:
Saturday, Nov. 12, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Logan County Fairgrounds, 301 E. Lake Ave., Bellefontaine.
Friday, Nov. 18, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Champaign County Fairgrounds, 384 Park Ave., Urbana.
Friday, Nov. 18, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Second Harvest Food Bank, 20 N. Murray St., Springfield.
Saturday, Nov. 19, from 10 to 11 a.m. at First Presbyterian Church, 15 N. Chillicothe St., South Charleston.
Monday, Nov. 21, from 4:15 to 5:15 p.m. at St. Paris Municipal Building, 135 W. Main St., St. Paris.
Tuesday, Nov. 22, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. at St. Vincent de Paul, 483 Madison Ave., Russells Point.