LIMA — Dozens of families in Allen County who take advantage of the myriad services offered by eight non-profit groups and agencies will enjoy a holiday meal of ham or turkey this year, thanks to the philanthropic efforts of a statewide provider of Medicaid, Medicare and marketplace insurance coverage.
It also was a day of giving on another front as Lima VFW Post 1275 delivered hams, clothing and household items to needy veterans on Wednesday.
Buckeye Health Plan, a subsidiary of Centene Corp., donated 200 hams and 50 turkeys on Wednesday to eight community-based agencies in Lima to help ensure a greater number of local families could enjoy a complete holiday meal this season than may otherwise have been possible.
Organizations benefiting from the Buckeye generosity include Allen County Children Services, Area Agency on Aging 3, Bradfield Community Center, Family Promise, In Faith Ministries, Our Daily Bread Soup Kitchen, the Salvation Army and West Ohio Community Action Partnership.
According to Mike Hibbard, Buckeye community relations representative for the Lima area, the eight agencies were selected by Buckeye “based on the impact they can make on the community.”
He said that by the end of the day on , more than 47,000 pounds of meat will have been distributed at 12 sites throughout Ohio by the company. Buckeye will distribute 4,647 hams and turkeys to more than 130 agencies statewide in this, the company’s ninth year of its Operation Feed the Hungry program.
This was the first year Buckeye has distributed turkey and ham for holiday dinners in Lima.
Talesha and Michael Sanders were at Wednesday’s event representing In Faith Ministries. Speaking on behalf of Revs. Michael and Kim Lyons, Michael Sanders said a monthly food pantry is held at the church on High Street in Lima and Wednesday was the schedule day for the event. The food pantry attracts between 75 and 125 people each month.
Sanders said a raffle would be held to determine who received the holiday treats.
“It’s an honor and a blessing to partner with Buckeye, especially at this time of the season,” he said.
Lauren Link is the planning and development director for the West Ohio Community Action Partnership agency, a non-profit organization that serves clients in Allen, Auglaize and Mercer counties through Head Start programming, rent and utility payment assistance and other family programs.
Link said one family has been selected to receive a ham or turkey from each of the Head Start classrooms overseen by the agency. All told, 50 hams or turkeys will go to less fortunate families throughout the three-county area.
Hibbard said Buckeye’s Operation Feed the Hungry giveaway began on a small scale in 2010, with several members of the Buckeye team delivering hams to five community agencies in Akron the week before Christmas. It continues to grow annually, he said.
“We are committed to transforming the health of our communities, one person at a time,” Bruce Hill, Buckeye president and chief executive officer, said in a prepared statement.
Buckeye’s Operation Feed the Hungry began on a small scale in 2010, with several members of the Buckeye team delivering hams to five community agencies in Akron the week before Christmas.