Schneck donates nearly 5,000 pounds of food

March was National Nutrition Month, and March Madness was in full swing, so Schneck Medical Center combined the two for a food drive event.

Each food item had a point value, either a three-pointer (3), bank shot (2) or free throw (1), said clinical dietitian Jill Whitaker, who also is the rural food access coordinator in the Healthy Jackson County coalition.

“If the total points were averaged out, it would be the equivalent of over 10,000 food items being donated,” she said. “We had weights from some of the pantries for our donations, so we averaged that out and estimated nearly 5,000 pounds of food was donated.”

Whitaker said Schneck collected for a different pantry each week: Anchor House Family Assistance Center and Pantry, Community Provisions of Jackson County, I Care Ministries Food Pantry and The Alley.

“We had so many donations at the end of the month that we were also able to donate to the pantry at Medora Christian Church, Jamestown Apartments, Good Samaritan Food Pantry of North Vernon and Crothersville food pantry,” she said. “They were so grateful and humble, and these folks are the heartbeat of feeding our community.”

Whitaker said none of the establishments they called with extra donations turned them down and were more than willing to come pick up the food.

“It was so nice to be able to help them at a time when the need is great, especially in light of higher food costs,” she said. “Several shared about how much this means to their pantry and the individuals that they serve.”

Whitaker said the food drive competition was among participating departments at Schneck.

“The department team with the most points was the Fifth Floor Foulers with over 4,800 points,” Whitaker said. “This team is comprised of the outpatient offices of surgery/vein and pain/neurosurgery on the fifth floor of the Schneck Professional Building.”

The other Final Four department teams were Operation Foul Out Hunger, Diagnostic Imaging Dunkers and Two North Winning Wizards.

Whitaker said they didn’t have a set goal. She was just hoping for enough donations to make a difference for each of the pantries.

“We didn’t do this last year but hope to continue giving back in this way,” she said. “The big hearts and competitive spirits of our employees helped make this a success.”

They brought in more donations than the pantry could take a couple of weeks ago, so Schneck food service manager Lesley Kendall was able to restock four local Little Food Pantries that were mostly empty.

The theme for the little pantries is “If you have a little, give a little. If you need a little, take a little.”

Whitaker said over the holiday season, Healthy Jackson County and Schneck promoted an Adopt-A-Box theme to bring more awareness to stocking the Little Food Pantries.

“We had good participation with this, as well, and I had a couple of employees mention how quickly they noticed that the boxes were empty again after filling them,” she said. “So we definitely feel like these are being utilized in the community, so individuals, churches, businesses, etc. are welcome to drop off items whenever they can.”

The pantries are at the following locations:

Brownstown — 100 block of West Walnut Street

Cortland — Hamilton Township Volunteer Fire Department, 6843 N. County Road 400E

Crothersville — Bethany Baptist Church, 9511 E. County Road 800S; Veterans Park, 102 Pennsylvania Ave.; Beauty from Ashes Tattoo Parlor, 201 N. Armstrong St.; Bard Street Park

Freetown — North Union Street

Medora — White River Ag Sales, 2858 S. State Road 235

Seymour — Good Samaritan Food Pantry, 404 E. Second St.; Human Services Inc., 1115 E. Oak St.; Boys & Girls Club of Seymour, 950 N. O’Brien St.; Westside Park, 920 Jackson St.

Tampico — Tampico Baptist Church, 5626 S. State Road 39

Uniontown — 11769 E. State Road 250

Suggested donation items for the 14 Little Food Pantries in Jackson County include canned fruit, canned vegetables, canned meats, canned meals, boxed food, oatmeal, cereal and toiletries.