Groups work together to help the community

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By Amanda Ensinger
Staff Writer

Messenger photo by Amanda Ensinger
Volunteer Malachi Middleton, of Columbus, unloads milk to pass out to families in need during a drive through donation event at the Hilltop YMCA. During the event, the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, YMCA and OhioHealth gave away produce, as well as personal protective equipment and other items in need that are currently in short supply.

Recently, the Hilltop YMCA partnered with OhioHealth and the Mid-Ohio Food Collective to give away produce, personal protective equipment (PPE) and other items that are currently in short supply.

The event aimed to help those in need that are struggling with securing food, have no PPE to protect themselves when they are out in public or have had issues securing other essential items that are hard to find at traditional retail stores.

“Those in need are coming through the drive-thru here and we are passing out materials to them,” said Maketia Haralson, volunteer with YMCA AmeriCorps. “We are practicing social distancing by wearing masks and not having them get out of their cars.”

As part of the event, OhioHealh provided attendees and volunteers with PPE to protect themselves. OhioHealth said they were able to do this because of the excess PPE they had as a result of community donations.

“Back in March and April, when the COVID-19 pandemic was gaining momentum, supplies of critical personal protection equipment and other needed items were in short supply due to the worldwide demand and scope of the pandemic,” said Shawna Davis, vice president of community and government relations. “We doubled our efforts to find new suppliers and to be innovative in our work, but one of the very important things that helped us get through that period was a wonderfully generous outpouring of emotional support and donated supplies from the community.”

According to Davis, OhioHealth received more than a million donated items, including face masks, gloves, hand sanitizer and more.

“Nearly 90 percent of these items were able to be used to help protect our frontline healthcare workers or placed in our inventory for future needs,” Davis said. “Now, with PPE and other supplies replenished and becoming more readily available, OhioHealth was able to give back more than 100,000 items to people in need.”

During the event, OhioHealth distributed COVID Care Packages that contained PPE that could not be used in a clinical setting. Overall OhioHealth plans on giving away more than 100,000 items to seniors and families in need of these supplies.

Seniors are encouraged to contact ChenMed to receive a package if they weren’t able to pick up one during the drive-thru event. Seniors are encouraged to call 614-803-9000 to schedule a weekday time to pick up a package at the Whitehall, Hilltop or Northland locations.

OhioHealth also had its Wellness on Wheels unit at the event to distribute health information. Other supplies distributed during the event included fresh produce, milk and food products.

“Hunger and lack of food was an issue in this community before COVID-19 and has just gotten worse as a result of this pandemic,” Haralson said. “We are here to make sure people have fresh, healthy food to eat.”

If you are interested in volunteering or accessing these complimentary resources, visit www.ymcacolumbus.org.

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