By LINDA WOODLAND
Tons of food will be given away today for Fostoria and Seneca County residents.
West Ohio Food Bank will be joined by members of Ohio National Guard from 1-3 p.m. at First Lutheran Church, 300 Melmore St., Tiffin.
And there will be plenty of social distancing at the giveaway, Linda Hamilton, chief executive officer of the food bank assured.
The food giveaway is operated as a drive-through service in the same fashion as has been done in past food giveaways at this location. There will be pallets of food to be distributed by volunteers, but there will be one notable difference — social distancing.
“Typically they would fill out a form or they would do things electronically, but with the no-touch, you’re able to stay in your car, just keep your window open. All you have to do is show your identification. We’re able to fill out the information. Then we just ask if it’s okay if we sign their signature,” she explained, adding she has talked with public health officials to ensure everything is done safely and correctly.
Photo identification is required to receive food to ensure the person receiving it is from Seneca County.
“We don’t want somebody jumping from Lima or Allen County then jump from there to Hancock County and then jumping over to Seneca County to get food,” she said.
“We have just seen an influx of individuals needing food assistance. So we just ask people to be patient. If you’ve already gotten food from another location, or place, please allow those that haven’t gotten food to be able to do so,” Hamilton said.
She said the food bank will be bringing about 20,000 pounds of food to distribute but how much is given to each household is dependent on how many people show up.
“We have to determine how many vehicles do we have, because some vehicles might have two households. So we try to get a number and then sort of divide up from there. It’s really looking at what is available.”
Hamilton said the food bank, which coordinates 11 counties from the Indiana border to Seneca and Wyandot counties, is trying to schedule more distributions.
“Your pantries are set up for typically three- to five-days supply. When we’re doing these larger food distributions like (today), the intent is to try to get more food (to those in need) with needing to stay in (per the state stay at home orders). So if we need to distribute more frequently, that’s what we’re looking at doing.”
She said the food is for those who meet the federal poverty guidelines as follows — number in household: 1, income $12,760; 2 in household, $17,240 income; 3 in household, $21,720 income; 4 in household, $26,200 income; 5 in household, $30,680 income; 6 in household, $35,160 income; 7 in household, $39,640 income; 8 in household, $44,120 income. For households with more than 8 persons, add $4,480 for each additional person.
“We are trying to do the best that we can, whether it’s our volunteers or staff, to help ensure you get food. We know the need is there,” Hamilton said, asking the public be patient as they are being served.