Churches helping with food distribution effort today in Butler County

Credit: Provided

Credit: Provided

WEST CHESTER TWP. ― Lakota Hills Baptist is one of several regional churches giving food away today through the federal Farmers to Families Food Box Program.

Farmers to Families started this summer to distribute food to farmers and families affected by the novel coronavirus pandemic. U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue the program "was designed to put American farmers and distributors of all sizes back to work while supporting over-burdened food banks, community and faith-based organizations, and other non-profits serving Americans in need.”

As of Monday, 87.8 million food boxes have either been or set to be distributed, and 2.8 million of those boxes are to be distributed this month.

Registration is needed to receive a box of food, but Pastor Travis Smalley said it’s so they have an accurate count of how many families have been helped. Close to 1,200 families (or until supplies run out) will get assorted meats and dairy products, he said. The distribution is from 4 to 7 p.m. at the church, 6300 Tylersville Road in West Chester Twp.

As of Monday afternoon, Smalley said close to 650 families had signed up for today’s distribution.

“We’re going to attempt to give each family two boxes of meat and one box of dairy,” Smalley said. “It’s just available until it runs out. We’re attempting to hand it out one shot, we’re not looking to store it.”

Lakota Hills Baptist will have two semi-trucks arrive on today with 37,000 pounds of assorted meats and 22 pallets worth of dairy, which will be distributed at Lakota Hills and several other churches around the greater Cincinnati region. Some of those distributions have not been publicly announced, but in addition to Lakota Hills, the Journey Community Church will distribute food to just more than 100 boxes of food on today at Franklin Freewill Baptist Church on Ohio 123 in Franklin Twp. on a first-come, first-serve basis.

“So it’s not just here in West Chester," said Smalley. “We’re just trying to spread the good vibe with individuals who may be hurting during the pandemic.”

Smalley said today’s food distribution is because of his connection with SEND Relief, a network that offers resources, training and events to help churches engage in humanitarian relief work. In addition to church volunteers, there are various community partners, such as First Financial Bank and Dougie & Ray’s, are helping to support the distribution.

“God’s blessed us and we want to bless others,” Smalley said. “We just want to love on our community, and it’s an opportunity to give some families in need some food.”

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