Meigs County Schools Food Pantry receives first Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund grant
POMEROY, Ohio – The Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund has awarded its inaugural grant to the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry, expanding the endowed fund’s impact beyond Athens County.
The $10,000 grant will help expand the reach and results of the food pantry, which was established in 2021 by the Meigs County Foundation (MCF) in partnership with the Meigs Local, Eastern Local and Southern Local school districts. The food pantry is a county-wide, school-based food pantry that provides a monthly, year-round distribution of healthy, nutritious food to school-age children and their families experiencing food insecurity.
“We are incredibly grateful for the support of the Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund,” said Laura Sheets, a MCF committee member and chair of the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry subcommittee. “Everything we are able to do for the children and families in our county is because of the generosity of many individuals, partners and local businesses. The need is significant, but so, too, is the outpouring of love and support we’ve received.”
The Athens County Food Pantry – driven to maximize and grow the outpouring of donations it received following Joe Burrow’s 2019 Heisman Trophy acceptance speech – invested $350,000 to create the Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund at the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) in July 2020. With support from the Ohio Legislature, FAO matched that initial investment dollar for dollar, resulting in $700,000 for the fund. The Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund now stands at more than $1.65 million.
“In just a few sentences, Joe Burrow sparked a flood of generosity and a growing community of supporters united by a desire to help fill the most fundamental of human needs,” said Karin Bright, president of the Athens County Food Pantry. “We knew we had an obligation to him and to all those donors to transform that moment and their generosity into sustainable action. It brings us great joy to assist fellow nonprofits in the mission we share – and through the Joe Burrow Hunger Relief Fund. With each step we take together, we move closer to eradicating issues of hunger in our communities, our region and beyond.”
With the COVID-19 pandemic reinforcing how pervasive food insecurity is in local communities, the Meigs County Schools Food Pantry was created as an initiative of the MCF through a partnership between MCF and FAO’s I’m a Child of Appalachia® Fund. The food pantry currently serves 150 families each month.