The Hillsboro LaRosa’s will partner with Samaritan Outreach Services again this holiday season to support individuals and families coping with food security in the Hillsboro community through the restaurant chain’s Feed Our Neighbors In Need program.
The annual program supports Hillsboro and Highland County neighbors through the purchase of a $10 Buddy Card at the Hillsboro LaRosa’s Family Pizzeria on Harry Sauner Road.
The $10 Buddy Card is good for a free large cheese pizza with the purchase of any large pizza, and is good for 14 uses, or 14 free large cheese pizzas within one year.
With each Buddy Card purchase, LaRosa’s will contribute $5 to Samaritan Outreach Services, which director Wade Hamilton said is a tremendous help.
“We’ve changed the way we’re doing things, so extra funding this year will be extremely helpful,” he said. “We’re making home deliveries to a larger number of people than we were before COVID-19, which increases our expenses like fuel and car insurance costs. Getting the food to people has become more challenging.”
He said that food distribution at Samaritan Outreach Services has been different this year as the food pantry had to quickly change its operating model to continue supporting the community in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.
The food pantry had to make major adjustments when COVID-19 hit, Hamilton said, shifting solely to a food delivery model for around six weeks. Eventually, though, it started to integrate a drive-thru food pick-up system, which it now uses to distribute the majority of its food donations.
Between 80 and 100 families are served by the pantry each week through the drive-thru system, and it continues to deliver food to 20 to 30 homebound families and individuals on a weekly basis.
Hamilton noted that there is a greater need for personal items such as toilet paper and soap. He said that since the food pantry does not have access to those items at a discounted rate, the extra funding to purchase them will help support Hillsboro community members with those basic necessities.
While the logistical challenges brought on by COVID-19 are tough, Hamilton said that he truly misses the one-on-one interaction with community members as they visited the food pantry.
“It’s not quite the same when you’re putting a box of food into someone’s car as they drive by,” he said. “I miss the personal connections.”
The LaRosa’s Buddy Card program to benefit Samaritan Outreach Services will run through Thursday, Dec. 31.
For more information about the work of Samaritan Outreach Services, visit www.samaritanoutreachservices.com.
Reach Tim Colliver at 937-402-2571.