MOUNT VERNON — The 39th annual Food For The Hungry Drive officially begins today throughout Knox County as a community effort to raise food and funds for Interchurch Social Services, The Salvation Army and other groups throughout the area who support food initiatives.
The financial goal established for this campaign is $225,000, with FFTH hoping to collect as much canned or boxed food as the community can donate.
“Every year we are blessed by the generosity of the Knox County community that continues to see the value in helping our neighbors in need,” said Samantha Scoles, president of the FFTH Board of Directors.
“What is so amazing about Food For The Hungry is how so many people get involved — from preschool classrooms to civic organizations and college campuses — everyone can become a part of our mission to fight food insecurity in Knox County.”
The FFTH board is proud to announce a redesign of the organization’s website, www.FoodForTheHungryCares.org. This fresh approach to the website will be more user friendly and updated in a timely fashion to keep FFTH supporters in the know with events, collection points, needs and broadcast information.
“This project has been important to us because we want to maintain transparency with the community not only in how we raise funds, but also to show how they are being allocated and the resulting benefits,” said Scoles.
“Kailea Sparks, our assistant drive coordinator, has worked tirelessly over the last few months on this project and will continue to add more of our history over the next coming months.”
Food For The Hungry was started in 1982 by the late Charlie Kilkenny of WMVO Radio, who wanted to help local families in need during the holiday season. With the help of station owner Stephen Zelkowitz the next year, Food For The Hungry’s vision and purpose expanded to collect enough food and funds during the drive to help people in need throughout the entire year.
With the addition of several supporting community partners in 1995 and again in 2012, Food For The Hungry has not only grown, but continued Kilkenny’s vision.
Funds from 2018 have been distributed to both ISS, The Salvation Army and two separate grant offerings. In addition, FFTH provided funds to ISS to cover the cost of rent and utilities for the Bladensburg food pantry and store. FFTH assisted The Salvation Army with funds to assist with much needed improvement for its loading dock area.
Grant recipients include: Gay St. United Methodist Church Hot Meals, Lifepoint Church Backpacks of Hope, The Church on the Rise Food Pantry, Centerburg Church of God Food Pantry, Mount Vernon Association of Police Chaplin’s - The Half-Units, CHOMP MINISTRIES, TouchPointe Life Center, Central Christian Church Food Pantry, The Winter Sanctuary, feedtheVERN, The Freedom Center, Mount Vernon Farmers Market, Senior Vouchers, Covenant Church Food Pantry, Jacqueline McCalla-Cordle Children's Fund, New Directions, Knox Learning Center, Acts Food Pantry, Byron Saunders Foundation, Fredericktown United Methodist Church Peace Meals, St Paul’s Episcopal Church Hot Meals program, and First Congregational Hot Meals Program.
The mission of Food For The Hungry is to help Interchurch Social Services, The Salvation Army and other food assistance organizations stock their shelves and give financial assistance to support Knox County’s citizens in need.
The annual drive is made possible through the support of six legacy corporate partners (Mount Vernon News, WMVO/WQIO, Spectrum Cable, WNZR Radio, Mount Vernon Nazarene University and WRP CPAs); eight event partners (Kenyon College, Psi Iota Xi, Kokosing River Productions, the Knox County Career Center, KnoxPages.com, Delta Kappa Gamma, First-Knox National Bank and Central Ohio Technical College); and thousands of Knox County residents, businesses and organizations who volunteer their time and donate food and funds.
“Food For The Hungry truly brings out the best in our community, from the youngest, to the eldest,” said Drive Coordinator Lisa Mazzari. “It is such an honor to have the opportunity to meet and speak with so many people that want to help in some way.
"This help makes it possible for those on the front lines to be able to meet the needs of our friends and neighbors every day of the year, not just in the holiday season.”
FFTH is 100 percent local and all donations are tax-deductible. “We are blessed to live in such a wonderful community,” said Mazzari. “It warms my heart to see the passion our youth have for this mission, it gives me hope for the future. They embrace the calling to serve our fellow man. Please join us in this effort — make a difference, no gift or talent is too small.”
Throughout the next seven weeks, the Mount Vernon News, WNZR 90.9 FM, KnoxPages.com, Oldies 100.9 13WMVO and Super Q 93.7 WQIO will provide information and articles about the needs, announcements and notices about upcoming Food For The Hungry events.
Information about the drive and the many community activities that support it can also be found on the event website, www.FoodForTheHungryCares.org, on the event Facebook page, www.facebook.com/foodforthehungryknoxcounty, and on Twitter at www.twitter.com/ffthcares.
To view the livestream Dec. 14, visit www.mvnu.tv. The broadcast can also be heard live on 1300 WMVO and 100.9 FM.
Individuals, groups, service organizations or businesses that would like to donate time, money or services, call Mazzari at 740-481-2444 or Lisam.email@example.com.