Producing Happiness

One of many volunteers, Rev. Tim Smith loads a bag of potatoes into the bed of a pickup truck as part of a produce distribution event on Thursday.
Managing Editor

Volunteers could not have had a more pleasant day to help those in need.

On a warm and sunny day, volunteers from Cargill Inc., St. Marys Kiwanis and other local individuals helped fill cars with produce items today as part of a produce distribution event partnered by Agape Ministries, Inc. and the West Ohio Food Bank on Thursday afternoon at the old JC Penny store.

Cars lined up alongside the building of the former retail store with a paper filled out telling volunteers what produce and how much of it they needed and cars were filled in the front and back seats and in trunks or hatchbacks.

For Cargill, helping people within the community is nothing new.

Chuck Rhoads, plant production manager for Cargill, said employees from give two hours of their time every month to go out and do volunteer work for events such as the one on Thursday.

Rhoads said Cargill reaches out to different agencies throughout the year to see who needs volunteers or the organizations will reach out to the plant. Cargill has also helped stock food for the soup kitchen and last year the company collected toys for needy families and went to Job and Family Services in Wapakoneta to help build a fence.

Six Cargill employees came to help with the distribution and Agape Executive Director Patti Hamilton said about 13 total volunteers came to help. 

Hamilton said pumpkins or squash were handed out, as well as apple cider, lemonade, cabbage, eggs and potatoes. She said more than 50 people came by during the two-hour event.

“These people choose to come out and help and there will be several other volunteer events through the year and through the month that we will also be involved in,” Rhoads said.

Other organizations helped as well, including St. Marys Kiwanians. 

“We have a great partnership with Agape and [Hamilton] put out a notice that they could use some assistance with this first-time project to hand out produce,” President Steve Dorsten said. 

Dorsten — who was in charge of handing people clipboards with a sheet asking them what produce they needed — said there were other Kiwanians that participated throughout the event.

“Agape has done food distribution before, but this is the first time they have done a produce distribution out in the open like this and I thought it went over very well,” he added.

The qualifications to receive food were the following: Must be a resident of Auglaize County, must be 18 years of age or older, have a valid photo ID and proof of residency, be at or below 200% of the federal poverty guidelines and sign a self-declaration of eligibility to take food home form.

Thursday’s produce distribution is just one of a handful the West Ohio Food Bank has been a part of this month including sites in Lima, Wapakoneta and Celina within the last week since the agency has an abundance of produce available.