Here in the Mid-Ohio Valley, the community is grateful, now more than ever, for our area nonprofits fighting to provide support and resources to address increasing community needs. These efforts are made more manageable in Marietta and Washington County thanks to the work of the Marietta Community Foundation. In a statement shared on April 7th, the Marietta Community Foundation announced a partnership with the Sisters Health Foundation to help with providing meal delivery to area seniors. “We are awarding $10,000 to Community Action to assist with transportation and food costs for meals being delivered to seniors. This grant should help them sustain these efforts through April.”

The Marietta Community Foundation is committed to serving this community, supporting area food pantries and providing vulnerable populations with as much as they are able. Additionally, the COVID-19 Community Response Fund will be used to support Washington County nonprofit organizations that are involved in the frontline efforts to serve the needs of those most affected by the virus and contain the spread of COVID-19. Due to increasing local needs, the Foundation has expedited the process via this application. This grant is intended to meet an immediate emergency need of the organization.

Joe Baker and Mason Beuhring delivering food from Harvest of Hope

The Marietta Community Foundation has intentionally developed a community plan that is receptive to community needs, proactive to upcoming concerns and adaptable as changes may be needed. The first phase of the plan was addressing the needs of the most vulnerable population that had to social distance immediately to stay safe. Harvest of Hope relies on volunteers, many of whom are vulnerable themselves, to drive and distribute food, so the Foundation has stepped up to deliver for Harvest of Hope.

The other component of Phase One is supporting Community Action as they increase the meal delivery efforts to senior clients, including delivering meals on behalf of the O’Neill Center – the $10,000 grant from the Community Foundation will assist with this effort, among others.

We want to help as many people and households as possible by stocking our local food pantries who are already being overwhelmed by demand.

Area nonprofits are just as appreciative of these efforts as the Marietta residents. “Community Action has always been a strong partner of the O’Neill Center, and that partnership has never meant more than it does now,”, sharedConnie Huntsman, Executive Director. She added, “We see each person’s individual need and look for opportunities to meet their unique circumstance.” Meeting the diverse and individual needs is certainly a goal during this time and can be seen through the additional phases.

With Phase 2, Heather Allender, President & CEO of the Foundation, said, “We want to help as many people and households as possible by stocking our local food pantries who are already being overwhelmed by demand.”

Food delivered to the Gospel Mission Food Pantry

The Greater Marietta Community Food Pantry is grateful and commented on the increasing need. “On any given day, our freezers are normally full, but right now at least one is completely empty. We have been serving three times the amount of clients than we normally do,” said Director, Sherry Hill.

The Foundation purchased $10,000 worth of food to deliver to the 13 pantries serving Washington County, working every day to prevent food insecurity. In addition to supporting pantries, the Foundation wanted to serve another group of our community’s most vulnerable: kids that would normally be eating meals at schools. Phase 3 is working to address this need.

By pulling together, giving back, and volunteering, we are able to help and bring back that sense of control.

The Foundation has worked with local Rotary clubs to award $12,000 to the Boys & Girls Club, GoPacks, and Ely Chapman each for meals and other services. “By pulling together, giving back, and volunteering, we are able to help and bring back that sense of control,” said Rebecca Johnson, Executive Director at the Boys and Girls Club.

These three phases were made possible by the dedicated work of the Marietta Community Foundation staff and Board of Directors, as well as important community partners, including the Sister’s Health Foundation, which granted $25,000 toward the above initiatives. Other partners include Warren’s IGA, Marietta Noon Rotary, Marietta Morning Rotary, Marietta Rotary Foundation, Washington County Women’s Giving Circle, Harvest of Hope and multiple anonymous donors.

Eric and Sara Sauls of Joe Momma’s Kitchen preparing meals for delivery

Including donations from donors and the Sisters Health Foundation, the Foundation has given a total of $52,250 to support the above organizations as well as Joe Momma’s Kitchen and Marietta/Belpre City Health Department. Phase Four will focus on sustaining these measures until further notice. The Foundation believes in the importance of collaboration and proactive planning to meet the ever-evolving needs of the community during this crisis, said Allender.

The community can stay up to date on community needs and the Foundation’s efforts by following the Marietta Community Foundation on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. If you want to donate to the COVID-19 Community Response Fund or volunteer with a local nonprofit in need, please contact Heather Allender at 740-373-3286 or heather@mcfohio.org.

“Though we don’t know what the long term effects of these nation-wide safety measures,” said Allender, “one thing the community can count on is that Marietta Community Foundation will be here to help protect and provide for our community.”

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