Parishes serving 6 million meals in southwest Ohio

Staff report

CINCINNATI — Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio reports that 6,046,920 million meals were served through food pantries supported by almost 100 Catholic Parishes across southwestern Ohio in 2014. Food pantries provide emergency relief for families.

Nearly 600 parishioners volunteer at food pantries every month, serving 503,910 meals each month to those in need. From 68 food pantries, 254,652 families were served last year. When adding the more than 4.7 million meals served through the Second Harvest Food Bank operated by Catholic Charities in Springfield, Ohio, Catholic-supported food pantries provided more than 10.8 million meals last year.

“Providing food for the hungry is high on Pope Francis priorities,” said Ted Bergh, CEO of Catholic Charities locally. “We are planning to do even more to answer this urgent need.”

In Ohio, the need is great as the state ranks sixth in nation in having the highest rate of food insecurity — 16.9 percent in 2014 up from 16 percent in 2013 while the national food insecurity rates fell to 14 percent during the same period.

Catholic Charities is partnering with St. Leo’s Food Pantry in North Fairmont to reduce hunger through adding services to reduce the need for emergency food from pantries. Bergh explained that, “Pope Francis inspires all of us by his action and his words.

“The scandal that millions of people suffer from hunger must not paralyze us, but push each and every one of us to act: singles, families, communities, institutions, governments, to eliminate this injustice,” said Pope Francis at the launch of his global Food for All Campaign.

Staff report