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Fresh Thoughts is the monthly on-line newsletter of Second Harvest

Super-Hero Volunteers

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As the holiday season continues, we are so incredibly amazed and inspired by some of the people who volunteer at Second Harvest. They are the backbone of our organization, truly Super Heroes! We could not fulfill our mission without these wonderful people. To show our appreciation for their zeal and dedication to their work, we thought you’d like to meet them, too. Meet Dwayne Marshall and Shirley Nain.

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Note from Julie

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With the holiday season almost here, our work to bring nutritious food to our community is top-of-mind and we feel fortunate to be the recipient of so many generous donations, food drives, and volunteer outings. We are able to do more during this special time of year for our neighbors in need because of your commitment.

It’s also a good time to share with you all we have in store. Our second annual Elected Officials Volunteer Day will be on the Friday before Thanksgiving. Federal, state and local officials will get a chance to assemble Senior Food Boxes at Second Harvest to go out to 725 low-income seniors. Packing boxes and engaging the conversation will go a long way in helping our officials understand senior hunger. Our 110 partner charities, who distribute millions of pounds of food, are gearing up for the two busiest months of their year. Be sure to read about one of them, Helping Hands Ministry Food Pantry in Castalia, where Makala Weaver and her group of volunteers work hard so families can count on them when in need.

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Helping Hands Ministry Pantry

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The busiest people get the most done. When Makala Weaver started the Helping Hands Ministry Pantry at the Master’s Hand Church of God in 2008, she saw that people were in need and she knew she could do something about it. She has been the real-life example of helping hands ever since. As it turns out Makala is a full-time registered nurse and a wife and mother of three as well. The family lives in Mansfield.

Helping Hands Ministry Pantry is open to those in need in Castalia two times each month. It is a choice pantry that allows clients to select items out of their inventory. Makala feels that she is blessed because

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Make the Holidays Brighter with Holiday Cheer

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Since its inception 34 years ago, the Holiday Cheer campaign has raised over $900,000 for Second Harvest, equaling over a millions of meals for families struggling with hunger. A community effort led by Burger King, WOBL 1320 AM, and WDLW 1380 AM, Holiday Cheer raises money for Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio each holiday season.

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Veterans

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In time for Veteran’s Day, the Department of Veteran’s Affairs launched a screening initiative that will be implemented at all its facilities which is aimed at tackling food insecurity for veterans. Under this first-ever program, VA health-care providers will ask all patients whether they have run out of food or struggled to pay for it within the past three months. If they say yes, VA staff will connect them to a local food pantry or community program, share information on enrolling in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (food stamps) or refer them to follow-up care with a dietary counselor, if needed.

This is a critical step toward addressing hunger in a vulnerable — and often unreachable — population. Veterans frequently suffer from conditions, such as disability or mental illness that can stop them from seeking help. Some may shy away from the stigma against accepting handouts and this can also be a common deterrent from getting much needed help.

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