ANSONIA — More than 750 families were served Wednesday night when Shared Harvest as well as the Ohio Army National Guard and Ohio Reserves handed out food at a drive-thru distribution at the Ansonia Local School’s parking lot.
“Everything was above and beyond my expectations” said High/Junior High Principal Jim Robson. “Shared Harvest and the National Guard were amazing. I was very pleased with the number of Ansonia teachers that volunteered tonight. Toni Shellabarger and Tammy Green, in conjunction with Dr. Roseanne Scammahorn (of OSU Extension in Darke County) have been working toward the food distribution for months and the timing could not have been better.”
The lineup began even before the 4:30 p.m. scheduled start.
At 4:37 p.m., it was reported that 280 cars went through, and that didn’t even count the number of families who were receiving the food items.
Cars started lining up on Cross Street and helpers would approach the driver and asked how many families they were picking up the food items for, after which the number was placed on the windshield so the Guardsmen would know how much was needed per car and speeding the line along.
Robson said that each family would be receiving such products as meats, produce, fruit and juices. for all of the workers.
“Andrew Riffle (owner of the Whistle Stop) stopped by earlier and informed us the Whistle Stop would be dropping off pizzas later on,” Robson said. “Andrew, the Riffle family, and the Whistle Stop are amazing people! They went above and beyond tonight. We didn’t call him, he just came because he saw yet another way to give back. I can’t say enough about him and how much he gives. Any food that was left over Wednesday went to local Darke and Miami counties.”
Robson said the school plans to do it again next month.
“Shared Harvest is nailing down the exact date to use,” he said. “I feel very good about the distribution. It feels good to help.” Dr. Roseanne E. Scammahorn, Family and Consumer Sciences Educator for Ohio State University Extension in Darke County, who helped get Ansonia schools involved in this drive-thru, said each box the families received weighed more than 35 pounds
“The box was full of shelf-stable items, protein items such as ground beef, pork patties, eggs, etc. and had 6 pounds of oranges and apples.”
She went on, “The remainder of the boxed food items were donated to a local food organization so all 1,100 boxes, although not distributed at our event, will stay in Darke County to help our families in need.”
Scammahorn concluded, “It was such a blessing to have a large turn-out to the event. I would have loved to have given all 1100 boxes away, but 737 is still a huge number of families that don’t have to worry so much about how they are going to provide for their families. We hope to do another one at the end of May.”
Toni Shellabarger, an educator at Ansonia High School, said she got involved with this project after being asked to assist by Scammahorn.
“We have been looking for a community service project for the students,” Shellabarger said. “We agreed on this date in early March on the day when they decided to close the schools (due to the pandemic). I’m excited.”
She and Scammahorn, once they learned what kind of food was going to be given away, prepared recipes pertaining to the products involved to also be distributed during the drive-thru.
“We handed out the recipes that utilized a lot of staples they were getting,” Shellabarger said.
Terry Perdue, executive director of Shared Harvest Foodbank, said many barriers to receiving food at this distribution have been waived.
“Typically, a family receiving food must produce a photo ID, proof of residency, self-verify income, and sign a form,” Perdue said. “All of those requirements have been temporarily waived in wake of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
All Darke County residents in need of food were welcome to attend this event and receive food. Carpooling was permitted and encouraged. No pre-registration was required to receive food.”
People receiving food, he said, needed to stay in their vehicles while their food was being loaded for them.
Ten vehicles went through at one time and were served in a timely manner.
Contact Staff Writer Linda Moody at firstname.lastname@example.org or at (937)569-4315 ext. 1749. Read more news, features and sports at DarkeCountyMedia.com.