Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction

NEWS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                                                                                                  MEDIA ADVISORY
November 23, 2009                                                                                                           CONTACT:  DRC Bureau of Communications
                                                                                                                                                                       
Phone (614) 752-1150
                                                                                                                                    Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Bank
                                                                                                                                                                        Phone (614) 221-4336

Ohio Prisons Donate over 100,000 Pounds of Food to Second Harvest Food Bank

(Columbus) --- Early this Spring, the Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction (DRC) joined the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Food Bank (OASHF) in a combined effort to provide produce grown on Ohio prison farms to OASHF's 12 foodbanks so it could be given to those in need.  Harvesting began in mid-August with offenders working on prison farms picking corn to be provided to the state’s foodbanks. From September through October various crops were harvested at four of Ohio’s prisons and 100 acres of winter wheat has been planted to be donated to OASHF.  Overall during this effort, DRC has donated 106,734 pounds of crops with an estimated value of $23,492.28.

“The Ohio Department of Rehabilitation and Correction is proud to be a part of the effort,” stated DRC Director Terry J. Collins.  “By growing and harvesting crops for the Second Harvest Food Bank, offenders are given an opportunity not only to give back to their community, but by working on the farms they are learning a valuable skill that can assist them upon their release.  We look forward to continuing and expanding this partnership in the years to come.”

"This first-of-its-kind effort provides a source of desperately needed fresh produce for hungry Ohioans,” said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, OASHF executive director. “As the demand for emergency food assistance continues to rise, OASHF is very thankful for this new partnership and support.” Hamler-Fugitt said demand for emergency food assistance has increased by 21 percent since last year. In addition new data released this week reveals that 13.3 percent of Ohio’s residents are “food insecure,” meaning that they lack consistent access to adequate amounts of nutritious food.

OASHF is Ohio’s largest charitable response to hunger, representing 12 foodbanks and 3,000 member charities including food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Last year, OASHF and its network of providers distributed more than 113.7 million pounds of food and grocery items. For more information regarding Ohio foodbanks and Ohio’s hunger relief programs, please visit OASHF online at www.oashf.org or call 614/221-4336.