Community Action Committee Senior/Social/Transit Assistant Program Director Pamela Crawford unloads pantry donations from EM’s Portsmouth site employees. | Photos courtesy of the Office of Environmental Management.
It took two trucks and a van to transport the food items to the pantry in the Aug. 27 drop-off.
Editor’s Note: The 2013 Feds Feeds Families campaign began earlier this summer as an effort by federal employees to help local food banks replenish supplies for the hungry during the summer months. The last day to donate is today, Sept. 6.
When a local food pantry in the Appalachian region of Ohio lost a major source of items to help keep shelves stocked, it had to shut down until the arrival of more donations.
Closing the Community Action Committee of Pike County Food Pantry has a significant impact. In a week, the pantry typically feeds about 250 needy families in this county, which has the state’s highest unemployment rate.
After being closed for a week this past July, the pantry’s staff and volunteers were excited to see the Office of Environmental Management’s (EM) Portsmouth site employees pull up with 1,151 pounds of food to donate to the pantry. The Portsmouth site is part of EM's Portsmouth/Paducah Project Office (PPPO).
“We were waiting at the doors with cameras in hand,” Community Action Committee Senior/Social/Transit Assistant Program Director Pamela Crawford said. “We were glad we were getting the support of DOE.”
Their donation was large enough to allow the pantry to open its doors again to the public.
Portsmouth site employees gathered the items as part of the fifth annual Feds Feed Families, an effort by DOE and other federal agencies to stock food banks around the country.
While the Portsmouth site’s July 30 donation was significant for the pantry, it was only the beginning. The employees delivered 1,680 pounds of food Aug. 23 and 7,139 pounds of food Aug. 27 -- and Portsmouth site employees were inspired to continue contributing to the campaign after learning their efforts led to the pantry’s reopening.
“It brought home the fact that there is such a great need for food to be donated,” said Abigail Parish, the Portsmouth site’s office automation assistant and site coordinator for DOE Feeds Families, who’s kept busy leading the site’s campaign. After learning about the pantry’s needs following the July 30 donation, Parish and the other volunteers held weekly fundraisers, from ice cream socials to breakfasts.
“They were so excited when we drove up to the parking lot,” Parish said of the pantry’s staff and volunteers. “They were smiling and so happy to have all the food to unload so they can serve the people who come in.”
Crawford noted that the pantry served 9,696 households, or 27,777 people, from Jan. 1 to July 31 this year. “We are just happy that they know we are here and that they’re supporting our pantry,” Crawford said.
With 10,983 pounds of food donated so far, PPPO is leading efforts among EM offices participating in the campaign. That total includes donations from the Lexington and Paducah offices.