MOUNT VERNON — The 31st annual Food for the Hungry Drive begins today throughout Knox County, and will culminate in a live television and radio broadcast on Saturday, Dec. 8, from Mount Vernon’s City Hall. The goals for this year’s drive are $160,000 and 50 truckloads of food.
Food for the Hungry was started in 1982 by the late Charlie Kilkenny of WMVO Radio, who wanted to help local families in need during the holiday season. With the help of station owner Stephen Zelkowitz the next year, Food for the Hungry’s vision and purpose expanded to collect enough food and funds during the drive to help people in need throughout the entire year. With the addition of several supporting community partners in 1995, Food for the Hungry has not only grown, but continued Kilkenny’s vision.
“Our efforts to support Interchurch and The Salvation Army are critical to helping people in need get back on their feet,” said Joe Rinehart, president of the Food for the Hungry board of directors. “We are extremely thankful for the generosity of Knox County individuals, organizations and businesses over the years, and ask for their support again this season.”
According to the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, demands from the food pantries it services have increased 40 percent in the last five years. Knox County’s food pantries have seen the direct impact of this increase with rising numbers of local requests. In 2011, 34 percent of food requests at our local food pantries were for children ages 0-17.
The mission of Food for the Hungry is to help Interchurch Social Services and The Salvation Army stock their food pantries and give financial assistance to support Knox County’s citizens in need. The annual drive is made possible through the support of six legacy corporate sponsors (Mount Vernon News, News Talk Radio 1300 WMVO and Eagle 93.7 WQIO, Time Warner Cable, WNZR Radio, Mount Vernon Nazarene University and Nelson & Nelson CPAs) and thousands of Knox County residents, businesses and organizations who volunteer their time and donate food and funds.
“Food for the Hungry is a wonderful community project,” said drive coordinator Sandy Rhoton. “It is 100 percent local and all tax-deductible donations stay in the communities from which they are received; local media organizations promote and provide support to help provide for Knox County’s citizens in need. All of this confirms what a wonderful community Knox County is—one that cares for its own. Food For The Hungry is simply people working together to care for our neighbors. Won’t you join us in this effort?”
Throughout the next six weeks, the Mount Vernon News, Time Warner Cable, WNZR 90.9 FM, News Talk Radio 1300 WMVO and Eagle 93.7 WQIO will provide information and articles about the needs, announcements and notices about upcoming Food For The Hungry events to raise food and funds in our county. Information about the drive and the many community activities that support it can also be found on the event Web site, www.FoodForTheHungryCares.org and on the Facebook page, www.facebook.com/foodforthehungryknoxcounty.
Groups, individuals or businesses that would like to donate time, money or services can call Rhoton at (740) 358-9182 or firstname.lastname@example.org.