Through an angel partnership between Indivisible Appalachian Ohio (IAO) and the Southeast Ohio Foodbank, two valuable pieces of equipment were donated to the Jackson Area Festivals and Events (JAFE) food distribution efforts.?The program, Meet the Need to Feed Southeast Ohio, was created by IAO to provide the Foodbank unrestricted funds for use in a seven-county region with the goal of shoring up agencies addressing pandemic related increases in food insecurity.

Recently, JAFE received a new conveyor system through the IAO funds.The equipment enables volunteers toeasily move heavy items and quickly package bulk food for distribution. A full-size refrigerator for storing perishable foods such as fresh and frozen meats, vegetables, and milk was also purchased with the funds. Both the conveyor and refrigerator will greatly increase the organization’s capacity. 

“This was a very ambitious program for our organization, but we knew we had to step up when the statistics were getting worse for hunger in our seven-county service area,” said IAO board member, Dennis Reinhart. “We were able to provide the Foodbank with a $21,000 gift to be equally divided among the counties. The funds were used to provide additional food to pantries, refrigeration units, and other support services.”

In Jackson County, as in the other counties which have benefitted from IAO’s Meet the Need to Feed Southeastern Ohio initiative, there is a pressing urgency to provide food to hundreds of families who suffer from food insecurity. Now in its 5th?year, JAFE gives back to the community generously, attempting to assist families in which there may be issues related to nutritional deficiency, transportation issues, as well as other problems.

According to Ron Carter, President and Food Director of JAFE, “The equipment will be gratefully used. Without it, people may not have been able to get the nutrition they need, and I didn’t have room to store items that need refrigeration. It’s a real sense of accomplishment and blessing when we give away food. People are very thankful, and we hear a lot of ‘God bless yous’ from them.”

The Jackson County funds were the result of fundraising efforts by Jackson County members of IAO and others in the community since January.?IAO is a 501(c)4 which serves Jackson, Meigs, Athens, Vinton, Hocking, Morgan and Washington Counties. Its purpose is to provide services to these counties and to educate on important issues impacting the welfare of our communities. Previous activities include coat distributions, free haircuts for low-income school children, and actions to address the food crisis in southeastern Ohio.