COLUMBUS (WCMH) — Another pop-up food drive Friday catered to hundreds of families in need of food assistance.
This time the pop-up distribution event was on Columbus’ north side at Michoacana Mexican Market, which turned out to be the ideal location according to the event’s organizer Inna Simakovsky.
“In this area is a mixture of Somali, Hispanic, Bhutanese; so, this is just a perfect site of all immigrant communities coming together,” said Simakovsky.
They weren’t the only ones coming together though, volunteers from all walks of life and ideologies also descended on the event to do what they could to make a difference.
A group of Somali students studying abroad has been staying with a host family here in Columbus since the pandemic started. Unable to attend school, Bilan Aden has been itching to do some community service; something she would have been doing through her school normally.
“I wished that I could do more community work; so this was a really great chance for me to also do that,” said Aden. “It brings the people together and it helps them work collaboratively with different things and to help people in need.”
Collaboration to create solutions for a suffering community is what it is all about, according to Luis Gil another volunteer.
“Despite the crisis that we’re living, despite the momentum that people want to tear each other apart, here we are trying to mend with the community, trying to help out, and this is what America is all about,” said Gil.
For Simakovsky, an immigration attorney when she isn’t organizing food drives, the outpour of support has not only been essential to the events’ success but to keeping the effort going.
Columbus City School’s English as a Second Language program, Michoacana Mexican Market, Columbus Food Not Bombs, Ohio Latino TV, Invictus Fitness, Erawan Thai, Laguna Mexican Street Food, Latina Mentoring Academy, Unitarian Universalist Justice Ohio, Koki Tortillas, Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Latin Mentoring Academy, Advocating Opportunities and Soccer Field Academy, all contributed to this most recent event.
“As you can see, all the volunteers here are from so many different places and occupations, and interests. So that’s really important is to get all these people on board to saying immigration is important, you know build bridges not walls, and we’re trying to get a bigger message out now and I think that’s what we’re all about,” said Simakovsky.
At the end of the day, hundreds of orange bags of food were stuffed with dry goods, fresh vegetables, and toiletries and made it into homes where they were direly needed. Making it happen was a group of people that didn’t see each other as something different to be feared or hated.
They just saw each other giving up their time to help another person.
“You know, there’s a lot of help that can be provided and here we see that we’re doing our part,” said Gil. “We just want to be an example to the City that if we can do it, you can do it.”