CIRCLEVILLE— The Pickaway County Community Foundation and the United Way of Pickaway County have come together to help ensure that at-risk groups won’t go hungry during the COVID-19 quarantine.

The Pickaway County Community Foundation (PCCF) and United Way of Pickaway County have created the Pickaway County Food Relief Initiative with the goal of providing immediate financial aid to organizations and providing food to at-risk groups as a result of the pandemic.

“We are ramping up our efforts and are collectively prepared to implement this framework of support for agencies in need that provide essential meals to Pickaway County residents in need,” Jama Cobb, executive director of the Pickaway County United Way, stated. “From youth to the elderly, there are many county residents who have been adversely affected by the COVID-19 outbreak and, amidst such uncertainty. We are committed to make certain they know where their next meal is coming from by lifting up county agencies financially who prepare and deliver these meals daily.”

Last month, PCCF launched the “Feed our Kids” initiative and the Food Relief Initiative is an expansion of that program. Cobb said the program has already raised funds and made contributions for area school districts and their lunch programs for meals not covered by state or federal reimbursement, such as weekend meals.

“Several students were already facing food insecurities within our county schools prior to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cobb added. “Now, the problem has been magnified with an increase in unemployment and the new economic challenges we are facing.

The food pantries are being stretched further than ever and they are doing everything they can to continue to provide meals for the increased demand in our community.”

Cobb told The Circleville Herald that Pickaway County has always supported people who need “a little extra help.”

“I’m thankful these programs are already in place so the UWPC and PCCF can join efforts to raise money specifically for this need,” Cobb commented. “While many businesses are feeling the effects of the COVID-19 strain, there are others who annually support sports teams who have had to forgo their seasons and aren’t able to play right now. My hope is that these businesses might direct such charitable efforts toward feeding those who have been impacted, should they feel compelled to do so.”

Jan Shannon, PCCF executive director, said so far, PCCF has issued $15,000 to help schools provide food beyond the “grab and go” bags they’ve been providing the last several weeks.

Shannon said this is the first time PCCF and United Way of Pickaway County have worked together in such a fashion.

“This is a joint effort with United Way to expand community awareness of the need for donations and to make sure that we are assisting all organizations that are providing food to those who are experiencing food insecurities due to businesses being closed, people experiencing layoffs and potential health issues that could hit a family at this time,” Shannon added.

Shannon said programs like this are what show the true character of the community.

“This is the perfect example of the true community we live in,” Shannon mentioned. “There are no boundaries, by school district, township or cities — wee are here to help whomever needs help in this county and we are all in this together.”

Donations to the program can be made through the PCCF website at www.yourpccf.org.

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