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April 4, 2014
Last year, one in six Ohioans struggled with hunger. In Union County, 8% of residents live at or below the federal poverty level, and over 5,720 residents are deemed food insecure which means they do not to eat enough food each day to live active healthy lives.

So community leaders from Union County, in partnership with the United Way and Mid-Ohio Foodbank, will host a series of community conversations designed to explore sustainable ways to tackle hunger in our community. The five-session, bi-weekly series begins on Tuesday April 29 and continues every other Tuesday through June 24. These community conversations will bring together a diverse group of organizations, businesses, and residents to examine the strength of the County’s current anti-poverty and hunger-relief efforts and to develop strategies to build on those efforts.

“We know that hunger cannot be solved by just one organization alone, but rather by communities of people and organizations who are committed to making food accessible to all people,” said Matt Habash, President and CEO of the Mid-Ohio Foodbank. “These conversations are about local communities discovering the specific actions that will work best in their specific community to meet the hunger needs of those they serve; and it creates a role for those who want to step in and help.”

“The United Way has a long-standing history of funding hunger serving programs such as food pantries in Marysville, Milford Center, Plain City and Richwood and the Memorial Meals Programs,” said Shari Marsh, Executive Director of the United Way of Union County. “We are looking forward to working with the Mid-Ohio Food Bank through these community conversations to see how Union County may improve our effort toward addressing hunger.”

A recipient fills a grocery cart at The Salvation Army Food Pantry. There are more pantries than full service grocery stores in Union County. United Way and Mid-Ohio Food Bank are partnering to conduct a series of community conversations to explore sustainable ways to tackle hunger in Union County.
The entire community is invited to participate, especially those working in hunger, other health & human services organizations, education, health care, government, business men & women, elected leaders, people living in the community and people experiencing hunger. The meetings will be held on April 29, May 13, May 27, June 10, and June 24 from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in the Buckeye Meeting Room of the Union County Agricultural Building, located at 18000 State Route 4 in Marysville. Lunch will be provided. Please RSVP in advance to Shari Marsh at uwuc.shari@gmail.com.

Mid-Ohio Foodbank provides food to hundreds of thousands of hungry Ohioans each year by partnering with more than 550 emergency feeding sites across 20 counties in central and eastern Ohio, including food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters, senior centers, and after-school programs. Since 1980, the Foodbank has been dedicated to feeding hungry people by collecting and distributing food and grocery products, educating the community about hunger, advocating for hunger-relief programs, and collaborating with others who address basic human needs. In 2013, the Foodbank distributed more than 48 million pounds of food and grocery products to their partner charities, providing enough food for over 100,000 meals per day. Mid-Ohio Foodbank is a member of Feeding America, the nation’s largest domestic hunger-relief charity. For more information or to donate, visit www.midohiofoodbank.org.

United Way works to bring neighbors and resources together to improve lives in Union County. More than just a fundraiser, United Way collaborates with local businesses, government, and non-profit organizations to solve pressing social service issues large and small. United Way focuses its support on four Impact Areas: Emergency & Basic Needs, such as food, shelter, pantries, disaster, emergencies, and domestic violence. Health & Human Services, such as prescription medication, cancer support, hospice care, and mental health. Youth Services, such as scouting, mentoring, child care, literacy, and after-school opportunities. Senior Services such as activities and socialization.

For more information, please contact the United Way of Union County at (937) 644-8381 or visit www.unitedwayofunioncounty.org.
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