Volunteers from Delaware County organizations, agencies and schools handed out hundreds of turkeys and other food ahead of Thanksgiving during the annual Fight Against Hunger Games event.
The turkeys and food were amassed after a month of fundraising and donation drives held throughout the county.
At the event, which was held at the old Delaware Area Career Center North Campus, individuals could pick up a turkey, bags of canned goods, dinner rolls, and fresh food likes eggs. The Delaware Public Health District was also on hand administering flu shots and COVID vaccines to any interested parties.
Delaware County Juvenile and Probate Court Judge David Hejmanowski was one of the original participants in the event when his office partnered with Hayes High School to gather and distribute food donations before Thanksgiving in 2015.
“This started with Hayes and the court and now it’s grown into a countywide event,” Hejmanowski said. “It’s incredible to see how it’s grown and how much reach it’s been able to have. In a year like this, when we know the need is high, it’s great to know that we’ll have enough food for everybody who needs it.”
Hayes High School Principal Dr. Ric Stranges added he’s thrilled with the increased support the event has received over the years from the community.
“Initially, we saw a need in our school and we wanted to make a difference in the holiday season,” Stranges said. “When you bring entities across the county, you really do see the impact that people make when everyone works together. It’s been exponentially growing and exponentially rewarding … It’s nice to be on the ground floor and see them take off.”
Hejmanowski, who was handing out bags of food Tuesday, said he enjoys volunteering at the event.
“What I enjoy most about this is the interaction with people,” he said. “(I enjoy) seeing how happy folks are and working with the people here volunteering. I enjoy being here and taking part.”
Delaware County Domestic Relations Judge Randall Fuller also volunteered his time Tuesday.
“(I enjoy) giving back to the community and helping those that need it most,” Fuller said. “Everybody in this community gives so much. It’s a great community event. When you’re doing it, you see community members and people you’ve worked with other the years. The whole staff at the court enjoys participating and donating.”
Delaware County Prosecutor Melissa Schiffel, who has been participating in the event since she was appointed to her position in 2019, said it’s an important event in the county.
“Delaware’s community is amazing, and this just one of the many examples,” Schiffel said. “We each work hard every day to make a difference in our community but it’s really these moments when we go above and beyond to show that we care more than just what we do in our office every day. We can’t stop helping each other, there’s always more to be done. That goes to the heart of Delaware to show how many people care and are willing to help. It warms your heart.”
More than 400 turkeys were gathered for the event and the ones not handed out during the drive-thru event were distributed to families in need through a variety of organizations.
Glenn Battishill can be reached at 740-413-0903 or on Twitter @BattishillDG.