The Delaware County Emergency Medical Service (DCEMS) and People In Need, Inc. of Delaware County Ohio (PIN) have come together to celebrate the Ohio State-Michigan rivalry in a big way to support neighbors in need. The “DCEMS Fight with Food” pins the department against Huron Valley Ambulance to support their local food security networks.
Huron Valley Ambulance, located in Ann Arbor, Michigan, is coordinating its drive with Food Gatherers, which distributes food to 170 of their community partners. Eileen Spring, president and CEO, said that “counting every person in every household, each time they received services, Food Gatherers provided services to 830,000 people during the year — that’s enough to fill up Michigan Stadium (the Big House) more than seven times! We encourage all football fans to channel their competitive spirit into fighting hunger in their communities so we all win!”
Locally, nearly 23,000 residents of Delaware County are food insecure, meaning they do not have reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food. The efforts of PIN’s supporters have made a tremendous impact on these neighbors and the organization’s fight against food insecurity; up to 300 families visit PIN each week for this assistance.
“With rising food costs, we’ve continued to see an increase in neighbors visiting PIN. And we’ve not been immune to that ourselves; last year our average per-meal cost was 7 cents because of the in-kind food donations we receive. In the last few months, that cost has increased to 31 cents. It may seem a low number still, but it’s put an incredible strain on our food resources,” said PIN Executive Director Kathy Hoff. “DCEMS and Huron Valley are both truly going to make a difference with this competition, and we’re very excited to have Food Gatherers in on the rivalry. No matter who comes out on top, our neighbors will win.”
PIN and DCEMS have come together many times before to assist these families and individuals, most recently with the two touch-a-truck events this summer, which brought in nearly 1,000 pounds of food from visitors to the free events.
“This competition is a great example of the commitment both agencies have to our respective service areas,” said Capt. Glen Keating with DCEMS. “So often, the role of EMS in our communities is to be reactive when something bad happens. With this, we get to be proactive in a unique and fun way.”
With the big game coming in just a few weeks, anticipation for the competition has been strong.
“OSU fans walked away a bit disappointed last year, but in 2022 they now have two ways to win bragging rights over the state up north,” Hoff said. She also pointed out that Delaware has a unique connection to the rivalry; Ohio Wesleyan University’s football team has the distinction of having played against both OSU and Michigan in their first football games. “And Go Bucks!” she added.
Contributions can be made at any of the 10 Delaware County EMS stations throughout the community. PIN boxes are at each location, and all goods will be counted toward the total Fight with Food against Huron Valley Ambulance. For a list of all DCEMS stations, visit ems.co.delaware.oh.us/stations. Contributions can also be made directly at PIN’s warehouse, but donors should specify that it should be counted toward the competition. Those who wish to make a financial contribution can do so on PIN’s website, where there is a special donation option through the secure online portal.
PIN’s Food Pantry is open for service Monday and Wednesday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4:30 p.m., and on Friday from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. Nonperishable food, fresh produce, meat, and bread are available once per week to all Delaware County households at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines. Service is only available in a drive-thru format; clients should remain in their vehicle and wait for a volunteer to assist them. Affordable rides are available through Delaware County Transit.