PDT Staff Writer
Mark Hunter had a hard night sleeping Monday night. That’s not unusual for someone who knows it is important everything goes well when you are feeding the hungry in the community. He wanted Tuesday to be perfect for people who could stream into Christ’s Community Church on 25th Street in Portsmouth, and pick up their Power Packs of food, for an extra special reason. Tuesday was his son Steven A. Hunter’s birthday.
The Steven A. Hunter Hope Fund is named for Steven A. Hunter; a Portsmouth High School graduate who passed away suddenly in 2006 while attending Milligan Christian College in eastern Tennessee. There is another reason he wanted things to go perfectly - it may be a while before the next food distribution takes place.
“The Free Store Food Bank has changed how they deploy the mobile food pantry,” Hunter said, as people carried groceries to their cars on the parking lot at Christ’s Community Church. “It’s difficult to get it in Scioto County now. It’s not because we don’t have need. But they serve 20 counties - several of those counties are down in Kentucky - and several of those counties have no food pantry at all. So they’re under a mandate to provide a certain level of service to all their counties; so they’ve had to curtail the mobile food pantry coming to Scioto County to deploy it to what they call ‘gap counties.’”
As a result of the new protocol, the Hope Fund has had to change the way they do things.
“These (pointing to boxes stacked nearby) are what they call ‘holiday food boxes,’” Hunter said. “So there’s a good amount of food in each box. Plus, they get a whole chicken and a couple of loaves of bread. So it’s still a good amount of food, I think they will be pleased. Free Store was so good to us. Today is actually Steven’s birthday, and they wanted to come through a do something. They came up with this alternative, so they can keep the cost at what it was.”
Hunter said notices of Tuesday’s distribution were sent home with all the children in the schools they serve with Steven’s Power Pack.
“We have enough food for 200 families,” Hunter said. “There are 366 kids being served now, but a lot of those are multiple kids in one family, and we never get 100 percent that show up. So we told them it was first-come, first-served for the first 200.”
Hunter said the distribution began earlier than planned because there was line forming early, and it was cold outside, so they began the process by 9 a.m.
“We’re just so blessed to be able to do this,” Hunter said. “God has provided so much.”
Frank Lewis can be reached at 740-353-3101, ext. 252, or firstname.lastname@example.org.