Statewide insurer donates 200 holiday turkeys to Butler County organizations

A state-wide health care manager will be donating more than 4,137 turkeys as part of its outreach to help thousands of Ohioans have a complete meal this holiday season.

This is the ninth year that Buckeye Health Plan has donated turkeys as part of its annual food distribution program, “Operation Feed the Hungry,” in 11 Ohio cities.

On Monday, BHP staff volunteers dropped off 200 turkeys to benefit nine community-based agencies in Middletown at the Robert “Sonny” Hill Jr. Community Center, 800 Lafayette Ave.

Those area organizations include New Housing Ohio, New Mission Food Pantry, Open Door Food Pantry, Salvation Army of Hamilton, Sojourner Recovery Center, Family Services of Middletown, Moms & Babies First, Robert Sonny Hill Jr. Community Center and Marshall High School. Agency representatives went to the community center to pickup the donations for recipients that that have been predetermined by each agency.

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Chuck Hall, principal of Marshall High School, said some students were at the community center helping with the distribution. He said the school has identified some families with real needs who will receive one of about a dozen turkeys.

“I’m excited that our kids are understanding that they are a part of something bigger and they see the value of giving,” Hall said. “Our kids are appreciative of their services and our school wants to remove any barriers to academics.”

Hall said the school also provided turkeys for Thanksgiving for some families in need.

“We always have a good time working with these organizations,” said Rhiana Rew-Coleman of Buckeye Health Plan, who coordinated the Butler County distribution. “Our organization wants to help them serve more people.”

She said her company donated 15 to 25 turkeys to each of the local organizations.

In Ohio, more than 1.69 million people are struggling with hunger, including 510,030 children, according to Feeding America. That is one in seven of all Ohioans, one in five of which are children.

In Butler and Warren Counties, more than 68,790 people struggle with food insecurity. Community groups in the Middletown area that help meet this need are supported by this annual donation by Buckeye.

“Operation Feed the Hungry is Buckeye’s major philanthropic outreach to help thousands of Ohioans this holiday season,” said Steve Province, Buckeye president and chief executive officer.

Buckeye’s Operation Feed the Hungry began on a small scale in 2010, with several members of the Buckeye team delivering food to five community agencies in Akron the week before Christmas. During the past nine years, Buckeye has given 15,337 turkeys (181,994 pounds) to Ohio families through 760 community-based organizations.

The company manages healthcare for Ohioans on Medicaid, Medicare, integrated Medicaid-Medicare (called MyCare Ohio) and the Health Insurance Exchange.

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