Auglaize County Deputy Registrar Laura Kelley presents the first check from a statewide drive to end hunger to Valerie Coffey, food pantry manager for Mercy Unlimited.
The Auglaize County branch of the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles is joining a statewide drive to help end hunger and is partnering with a local agency to make a difference here.
State Registrar Mike Rankin became involved in Operation Feed on a local level in the Columbus area and decided to extend the effort across Ohio.
For more than 30 years, Operation Feed has raised food and funds to provide assistance to individuals and families in need. Its efforts help stock the shelves of food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters for the thousands of Ohioans facing hunger, according to the organization’s website.
“People who never thought this could happen to them are struggling just to get by,” according to the website. “Many are faced with difficult situations, having to choose between paying for housing, utilities or medical expenses, and putting food on the table.”
Auglaize County Deputy Registrar Laura Kelley said as part of the drive, they are asking customers if they would like to round up their fees to the nearest dollar.
“We are thrilled with the response, people are being very generous,” Kelley said, explaining they are giving the money raised to Mercy Unlimited because of its visibility and reputation in the area.
At the same time, Mercy Unlimited participates in a yearly project sponsored by the Feinstein Foundation, which matches funds to allow agencies to make their March and April donations count even more. As part of the project, any food, money and pledged donations made to Mercy Unlimited’s food pantry are reported to the foundation.
“We decided to promote both drives together, allowing that loose change to make a greater impact,” Mercy Unlimited Food Pantry Manager Valerie Coffey said.
In 2012, Mercy Unlimited helped provide more than 93,000 meals to those coming to the pantry and is on track to top that this year.
“We are always looking for ways to keep a steady stock and variety of foods for our clients and it makes us very happy when other agencies and businesses decide to support the work we do,” Coffey said. “Every donation allows us to keep up with the growing need in Eastern Auglaize County.
“We are so excited that we have been chosen and look forward to seeing the results,” she said. “God just keeps blessing us in bigger and bigger ways.”