Every Friday during the school year in Ottawa, Ohio, KNAP Sack (Keeping Nutrition Available Program) provides weekend meals for children in pre-K through eighth grade who qualify for the school’s lunch program. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased need in the community and prompted the organization to hold additional food distribution events.

More than 200 families showed up at Putnam County Education Service Center on May 6 to receive one of the supply boxes handed out by a group of 15 volunteers and Ohio National Guard soldiers. The event was made possible through a $3,000 contribution from AEP Ohio, the single largest donation in the KNAP Sack’s history. The funds helped provide milk, bread, full hams, bags of apples and oranges, canned goods, cereal, paper towels, toilet paper and other items.

“Ottawa is my hometown and, quite frankly, it was pretty overwhelming to arrive at the location and see cars parked in a double lane for probably a quarter of a mile waiting for food,” said John Recker, Community & Customer Experience Account Manager. “It really struck me to see so many people in need of help.”

Families appreciated the helping hand. Betty in Leipsic shared her experience.

“I’m a widow, business shut down by the state, no stimulus check or unemployment yet because I’m self-employed. The very generous food box was very welcome,” she wrote. “I have been cooking and sharing food since the shutdown so I will be continuing with that thanks to you sponsoring the food distribution in Putnam County today. Thank you!”

This gift was part of $180,000 in emergency relief to help address hardships faced by our customers and communities donated by the AEP Ohio Fund of the Columbus Foundation.

Published May 11, 2020

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