Truckloads of food are ready to be distributed on Saturday as Help the Hungry Outreach embarks on its eighth season of meeting hunger needs on a large scale.
Bill Bowman, pastor of New Life Church and Ministries in Hillsboro, which sponsors the annual effort to abolish hunger, said it is estimated that between 1,200 and 1,500 families will attend the Sept. 19 event at Liberty Park in Hillsboro.
Bowman has said that the annual outreach event is different from the daily outreach of local food pantries and kitchens in that distribution of food is by the hands of many county and local officials as well as members of the business community.
“It allows our local politicians and business people to see what a tremendous need there is.” He said it also shows those in need that they are cared about. The event “puts a face on poverty,” Bowman said.
On Saturday, three tractor trailer loads of food will be distributed, Bowman said, and that will include fresh produce, frozen foods, meats, bread, canned foods, and different drinks.
Bowman said a special program begins at 3 p.m. and anyone coming to receive food must attend the program to get a ticket for the food line. The distribution of food will begin after the program.
While there are no restrictions in regard to income or where a person or family lives, there is only one ticket permitted per family and the ticket holder must be at least 18 years old.
About 30 wheelbarrows will be on hand to help transport the distributed food to vehicles, Bowman said.
He said that each year Five Points Implement donates the use of two tractors to unload the trailers, and on Saturday the distribution area will be cordoned off during the unload for the safety of those in attendance.
A prayer tent will be open to all who attend where volunteers will be ready to pray with anyone wanting to do so.
Bowman said there will be handicapped seating and parking available, as well as an EMT station and a water station.
The New Life pastor previously told The Times-Gazette that the annual event “is the largest one day food giveaway in southern Ohio.”
“We want the community to get involved” and see the need, not just in Highland County, but in southern Ohio, Bowman said.
New Life operates the Psalm 91 Shelter House and Bowman said the food pantry there weekly serves between 650 and 700 families from 11 counties.
The amount of those seeking help, he said, “just keeps increasing.”
Financial support for the Help the Hungry Outreach is achieved through fundraising and donations. He said many contributions have already been made by several local businesses and individuals to make Saturday’s outreach possible.
Donations for the non-profit Help the Hungry Outreach can be made payable to: Help the Hungry Outreach, 6101 SR 247, Hillsboro, Ohio, 45133.
For more information about the ministry go to New Life Church and Ministries’ Facebook page, or go to newlifehillsboro.org. Donations can also be made on the website.
Volunteers are still needed for Saturday, Bowman said, and anyone interested in giving their time should contact Hilda Hamilton at 937-205-0123.
“We are just here to glorify the Lord. We are here to feed the hungry,” Bowman previously said. “It’s what we are called to do.”
Reach Angela Shepherd at 937-393-3456, ext. 1681, or on Twitter @wordyshepherd.