By: Mason Beuhring
Many may recall, in the wake of the government shutdown, Marietta Community Foundation announced a collaboration with multiple organizations to help bring support to our local food pantries at a time of uncertainty.
Through this collaboration, I have had the privilege of helping distribute over 8,ooo pounds of food to 13 different Washington County food pantries.
Marietta Community Food Pantry
Belpre Area Ministries
L.A.M.B. Lowell Food Pantry
Beverly-Waterford Food Pantry
Newport Food Pantry
Cutler (3-C) Food Pantry
New Matamoras Food Pantry
Tri-County Food Pantry
Marietta Church of God
Gospel Mission Food Pantry
Western Washington Food Pantry
Belpre Church of Christ
Not only was I able to help with the logistics of this massive distribution, but I was able to help with a few deliveries to several food pantry locations. On my last delivery of this month, I accompanied Harvest of Hope volunteer, Darryl Ting, to the Western Washington Food Pantry. Darryl mentioned it is the willingness for community collaboration that will help Washington County succeed. He said that small towns across the United States are facing the same problems, but the towns who pull through the hardships are the towns which do it together.
During the past few weeks I have been able to observe, and participate, in a collaborative effort where many organizations have come together to share resources for the benefit of others. This has given me the opportunity to meet some amazing people who serve our Washington County community in major ways. I have met directors, volunteers, donors, and community partners; all of whom come from assorted backgrounds.
Among these individuals, is Ruth Griffin and she serves as the Director of Tri-County Food Pantry. She has served with the food pantry for almost 14 years and by her own admission she is “at the age where she could retire for a second time.” However, I can attest, this has not slowed her down. After unloading the food from the Harvest of Hope truck, I was able to gain a little more insight into Ruth’s efforts in the Lower Salem area.
Ruth and her team of 14 volunteers serve meal baskets to roughly 110 people on a weekly basis. 110 people in need of basic food accommodations may seem like a lot, but after a month of interacting with local food pantries, this number did not surprise me. What did surprise me was Ruth’s desire to leverage these meals into an educational opportunity.
Ruth and her team pack these food baskets in a very purposeful manner. Not only do they want to put food on the plates of those in need, they want to empower those people to create healthy meals for themselves. Every week, Ruth and her team create a list of four recipes and then stock the meal baskets with the appropriate ingredients.
The tenacity and passion Ruth displays serves as an inspiration to never stop creating a legacy in your community. Over 100 people are impacted and empowered every week because of the work she is doing. I am thankful that I was able to meet Ruth, her team, and all of the other volunteers who serve our community well.
I would like to give a special thank you to our partners and we look forward to future collaborations. May we continue to serve our county together.
Peoples Bank Foundation matched Marietta Community Foundation’s $5,000 pledge, bringing the total to $10,000
Warren’s IGA provided over 8,000 pounds of food at a discounted rate
Harvest of Hope picked up and delivered the donated food to each food pantry location