Helping for the Holiday

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 25, 2023

Diane Porter, director of Harvest for the Hungry, looks over the list of registrants for Harvest for the Hungry’s annual Thanksgiving giveaway on Saturday. (The Ironton Tribune | Heath Harrison)

Harvest for the Hungry giveaway benefits more than 500 families

Cars began lining up early on Nov. 18, well before the 8 a.m. start of Harvest for the Hungry’s annual Thanksgiving giveaway.

Once the line began moving, volunteers carried out boxes of food and frozen turkeys to each vehicle, providing enough to create a full Thanksgiving meal.

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In addition to turkeys, the packages contained potatoes, canned vegetable, cake mix, walnuts and other items.

“Basically, everything they need, except cranberry sauce,” Diane Porter, director of the food pantry, said.

She said this year’s giveaway aided 505 families, who had preregistered with the food pantry.

She said the volunteers set up early, borrowing dollies from Dollar Tree to roll the items into place.

“Over the years, we’ve got this down to a science,” Porter said.

Altogether, she said they would spend eight hours distributing the items for the event, which took place at the pantry’s North Fifth Street location.

For this year’s giveaway, as they always do, the South Hills Longbeards chapter of the National Wild Turkey Federation donated frozen turkeys, with this year’s contribution coming to 50. NWTF does a major giveaway each year, distributing turkeys to numerous charities throughout the Tri-State.

Porter said BWC Trucking donated 60 turkeys, while Ohio University Southern nursing students donated 4,734 items.

Contributions also came from monetary donations, such as the $5,000 the Ironton post of the VFW donated to the effort earlier this year. Porter said they receive many donations, with some ranging as small as $20.

“But every bit helps,” she said. “It adds up. And everything about this in financed by local folks.”

While Harvest for the Hungry’s event centers around Thanksgiving, Chesapeake Community Mission Outreach conducts a similar giveaway in the week leading up to Christmas, which takes place at the Chesapeake Community Center.