COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — All this month, NBC4 is bringing attention to hunger in our community — in support of Hunger Action Month.
While donations of food and money are important, so is the donation of time. And a new “free” food market is a success because of its volunteers.
“There is a need in your community, you feel like, ‘No, in my neighborhood everyone can afford everything,’ but that’s not true. People do need it and it’s just an eye-opener,” said volunteer Rupa Sanghavi.
Food to fight hunger. The need is felt in all communities and of all ages. That’s why the Mid-Ohio Market on Norton Road includes special boxes for children.
“There is a lot of fun in it, there are crayons to color on it, the box has a maze and everything so they can color,” explained Sanghavi. “There is a little Frisbee they can toss outside, and there is a nightlight, so they can put it in their room and it can give them comfort, so it’s a very good box.”
There’s also a card with a phone number — if the child or parent needs to reach out.
It is all part of a new approach to getting free, fresh, and healthy food on the shelves, in neighborhood markets, and on its way to family tables — with the help of caring volunteers.
“I volunteer as a tribute to my grandmother,” said Francine Baker. “Her name was June Lenore, she had five children and they grew up poor. They didn’t have running water in their house. They utilized food banks through food pantries in the church and then when they moved here to Columbus, her husband got an excellent job and was able to support his family. But Grandma wanted to give back to the community, and so this is how she’s always done it.”
A legacy of caring — feeding those in need, and volunteering. Baker says families will never be turned away — and neither will volunteers.
“Columbus is a diverse community with diverse needs and there’s always a need for something,” added Baker. “If they don’t have it at the specific location that’s closest to you, they will find one that is the next closest to you that needs help and they always need help. So please, please, please, please volunteer. They truly do need your help and your community trusts you to help them.”
If you are also looking to get involved, the Mid-Ohio Food Collective keeps its website up to date with the different types of volunteer opportunities available.