Harvest of Hope is truly grateful to our very generous and caring community. Corporate, foundation and individual donations during the COVID-19 pandemic have made it possible for us to continue feeding the hungry in Washington County. We have been able to keep our van on the road, to support partnerships with other community organizations helping to feed the hungry, and to open our community gardens on Hart Street and in Harmar Village.
Early in March, community meals were suspended, meatpacking plants were closing, consumers were stockpiling meat, and unemployment was rising. As a result, food donation quantities were drastically decreasing, the number of clients at food pantries were significantly increasing, and food pantries were struggling to order enough food from food banks.
Because of the pandemic, we could not hold our primary annual Farm to Table Dinner and Auction fundraiser this past summer. This loss of income severely threatened the continuation of our service to the hungry in our community.
So many in Washington County stepped up to help us offset the loss of income. We were able to continue our regular schedule of food rescue and delivery to food pantries and agencies feeding our community members who are food insecure. We were able to help other local organizations acquire and distribute nutritious food to the unemployed and already over-burdened food distribution sites. We were able to offset the increased cost of running our refrigerated van to make additional trips throughout the county each day as a result of partnerships with other organizations and foundations which provided much needed food for outlying food pantries and feeding programs for children.
It is our community that makes it all possible. Several community members came forward to learn how to drive our refrigerated van and became familiar with our delivery routes because many of Harvest of Hope’s volunteer rescue and delivery team members are in the COVID-19 at-risk category. When the Marietta Community Foundation, in partnership with Peoples Bank’s COVID-19 Emergency Response Fund, purchased $12,000 in food from Warren’s IGA to supplement area food pantries, Harvest of Hope joined the partnership and our new volunteer drivers helped make the deliveries. Additional shifts were added to our rescue and delivery schedule and additional volunteer help was provided by employees from the Marietta Community Foundation and others in the community. Trips were made to Broughton’s Dairy regularly where generous donations of milk, yogurt, and cottage cheese were collected and delivered to food pantries and other agencies serving the hungry.
Throughout the year and during the pandemic, Harvest of Hope has received several grants and donations. Half of a generous $5,000 grant from the Sisters Health Foundation for chicken provided over 2,000 pounds of chicken breast, or approximately 110 pounds, per agency through a reduced price from Warren’s IGA. The remaining $2,500 will be used when the meat crisis is over to purchase more chicken for food pantries and community meal sites when they reopen.
A generous $5,000 grant from the Marietta Welfare League helped purchase approximately 1,600 pounds of ground beef for food pantries and community meal sites, which received over 80 pounds of meat each. A generous anonymous gift of $2,000 made it possible for Harvest of Hope to purchase 2,500 dozen eggs. It is rare to receive egg donations and this allowed us to distribute this protein source to food pantries and agencies.
We are grateful for a community that comes together for the greater good of those who are affected the most during these difficult times. Thank you so much!