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OCMS students provide hunger relief

The Ohio County Times-News of Hartford, Kentucky

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Ohio County Middle School students received a lesson in hunger relief and what it means to help those in need.

In less than a month, students collected over 5,000 pounds of food for the Ohio County Food Pantry.

"My goal was to raise 1,000 pounds worth of items," said Karee Nash, an OCMS science teacher. "We definitely surpassed that."

Nash, a first-year teacher, said all new instructors are required to develop a leadership project.

After learning about the needs of the county's food pantry in Hartford, Nash said she began a food-drive competition in the seventh and eighth grades, with the homeroom class from each grade receiving a pizza party for the most food donated between Nov. 5 and Nov. 20.

"We motivated them with the competition but also by letting them know there were people in their community who were in need of food," Nash said.

The Ohio County Food Pantry operates out of an old converted gas station at the southern edge of Hartford on U.S. 231.

Although the food pantry serves 1,200 families per month, Gary Hines, director of the food pantry, said it's not in jeopardy of closing down for lack of food.

"The pantry has excess when we get bulk food deliveries but toward the end of the month, we begin to run out as any pantry will do," Hines said. "There are times of the month when we're lower but we've never been out of food and we've never turned anybody away because we don't have any food."

The food pantry opened in March of 2005 and provided for only 200 families in the beginning.

Since the increase in families, the food pantry goes through about 40,000 pounds of food per month.

Hines said they receive the food from three different sources — local donations, the federal government and the Feeding America Program based out of Eliza-bethtown.

"We're always low on peanut butter, oatmeal and cereal," Hines said. "We're not suffering but, like everything else, it's been more difficult than it has been in the past."

The homeroom classes of Crystal Geary, Robert Nico-demus, Ashley Brocato and Nash brought in the most food during the campaign, sending three loads to the food pantry.

Hines commended the middle school students and their teachers for their support during the Thanksgiving and upcoming Christmas holidays.

"These kinds of food drives help people become more aware," Hines said. "Unfortunately, Thanksgiving and Christmas aren't the only times people are hungry."

Anyone wishing to apply for the food pantry's services can call Hines at 256-5419.

Copyright 2009 The Ohio County Times-News, Hartford, Kentucky. All Rights Reserved. This content, including derivations, may not be stored or distributed in any manner, disseminated, published, broadcast, rewritten or reproduced without express, written consent from SmallTownPapers, Inc.

Original Publication Date: November 26, 2009

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