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A friend in need is a friend in feed

by on September 24, 2015
Business Process Analyst Beth Smail (left), and AEP vice president of Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services Tom Kirkpatrick present a check to Joan Lloyd, director of Corporate Engagement for the Foodbank, along with Customer Design Supervisor Kristen Thompson (far right). With AEP’s contribution, the Foodbank will be able to provide 750,000 meals to those that need them. (Photo Credit: Sarah Hunyadi)

Business Process Analyst Beth Smail (left), and AEP vice president of Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services Tom Kirkpatrick present a check to Joan Lloyd, director of Corporate Engagement for the Foodbank, along with Customer Design Supervisor Kristen Thompson (far right). With AEP’s contribution, the Foodbank will be able to provide 750,000 meals to those that need them. Photo by Cathy Kielty.

(Story by Zach Maiorana)

Since 1980, Mid-Ohio Foodbank’s Operation Feed campaign’s mission has been to provide food to central Ohio families in need.

When 1 in 6 Ohioans don’t know where their next meal is coming from, that mission is essential.

According to their website, last year the Foodbank distributed 54.6 million pounds of food to food pantries, soup kitchens and emergency shelters across 20 counties. Recipients of this contribution are able to use the donations to provide 130,066 meals every day to those who need them.

AEP’s contribution that year pulled together $168,673 to offer to Operation Feed. This year, the company pushed the bar even higher by raising $187,500. That’s 750,000 meals that the Foodbank is able to give because of AEP’s efforts.

AEP and the Foodbank have one major tie. Tom Kirkpatrick, vice president of Customer Services, Marketing and Distribution Services, also is a member of the Foodbank’s board of trustees.

On Sep. 9, Kirkpatrick, Business Process Analyst Beth Smail and Customer Design Supervisor Kristen Thompson presented the check to Joan Lloyd, director of Corporate Engagement for the Foodbank.

“AEP’s contribution helps us ensure that no one in our community faces hunger,” says Lloyd. “It helps our mission to see that folks in our community have access to fresh fruits, vegetables, dairy and other items that they otherwise might not be able to access.”

Over the years, the Foodbank’s purpose has become more refined, as they seek to offer more healthful food to those they help.

Fruits, vegetables, meat, dairy and bread are replacing processed goods, making healthier food choices available to food pantries’ inventories. In 2014, more than 24 million pounds of food was fresh produce.

“In our past year, we distributed 58 million pounds of food items to the communities in our footprint,” says Lloyd. “Nearly 50 percent of what we distribute is fresh, and that’s because more fresh food is available. Over 14 billion pounds of fresh food goes unharvested each year. We work to get that food to people who can’t get it elsewhere.”

AEP’s donation comes second among corporate sponsors, with only Nationwide providing a larger contribution.

“We’re proud of our partnership with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank,” says Smail, who helped present the check. “Through the support of AEP employees every year, we’ve been able to make a significant impact in our communities that need help.”

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