Harvest of Hope delivers 1 million pounds of food

From left, Cathy Ryan and Vesta Kidd Hall receive a food delivery from Washington County Harvest of Hope volunteer driver Gary Dodez. The delivery marked one million pounds of food rescued. (Photo Provided)

MARIETTA — The Washington County Harvest of Hope celebrated an achievement on Aug. 9.

It has saved one million pounds of food and distributed it to numerous agencies serving the hunger needs of the community.

Each week, the Harvest of Hope refrigerated truck travels throughout the valley picking up food at grocery stores, farm markets and businesses that is nearing its sell-by date or is excess that may have been produced by or delivered to the pick-up locations.

That same day, the truck delivers the food to a food pantry, community meal site, or local agency to be distributed to those in need or served as part of a community meal.

Harvest of Hope works with the United Way and other community agencies and donors to achieve the vision of a hunger-free community.

Harvest of Hope tracks the pounds of food donated and distributed. One million pounds was reached with a delivery to the O’Neill Senior Nutrition Program on Aug. 9.

Volunteers Steve Porter and Gary Dodez, regulars on the monthly truck schedule, made the delivery of a variety of foods donated through Witten Farm Market and Giant Eagle.

Vesta Kidd Hall, senior nutrition coordinator at the O’Neill Center, said the Harvest of Hope deliveries help to lower the expense of operating the senior nutrition program. The variety of foods delivered helps as well.

“Our seniors always enjoy the meat, breads and cookies that are part of the Harvest of Hope delivery,” Hall said.

Established in 2005 by Christ United Methodist Church in Marietta, the non-profit Harvest of Hope has more than 100 volunteers serving 30 agencies in the Mid-Ohio Valley. Its mission also has broadened to include community gardens and nutrition education.