LORAIN — More than 500 people came to together Sunday evening for the Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio’s 13th annual Generous Helpings fundraiser.
Dedicated attendees and first-timers alike enjoyed free samples from catering businesses and restaurants as well as live entertainment and raffles.
As You Wish Travel Agency co-owners and couple Sharon Pearson and AJ Clonts sponsored the event, donating $1,000 to Second Harvest and attending the event for the first time. Pearson, who also is an Oberlin councilwoman, said the county needs Second Harvest and they wanted to help as best they could.
“Living in Oberlin and knowing how many people are hungry in Lorain County and the fact that it’s getting worse, not better, we just decided that if we’re in the county, we should be doing our best to give back somehow,” Pearson said.
Second Harvest Executive Director Julie Chase-Morefield said she was happy to have people donate their time and money to help raise funds for Second Harvest. She also said the location for the event in the food distribution center on Baumhart Road helps give perspective of Second Harvest’s efforts.
“People can see the amount of food we distribute and get a sense of the scope of our services, but it’s a fun event,” she said.
Second Harvest awarded its first Bev Lizanich Innovation Award on Sunday at the fundraiser. The award is dedicated to the organization’s late director of program and member services, Bev Lizanich.
Lizanich lost her battle to cancer earlier this year, but her legacy lives on in the form of the positivity respect and love for her community, which the award signifies.
Christine Boesch and Kendra Faulkner, co-founders of the mobile food pantry OHgo, became the first recipients of the award. The nonprofit organization was created nearly three years ago, but the pantry started only a year ago.
“We didn’t know what to expect starting this, but this award — along with all the other support from people — just validates how important it is to just offer healthy food out into the communities as we can.”
The two said they spoke with Lizanich when they first started OHgo and remembered her kind words and advice on how to begin.
“I think it’s really cool because we got to be very close with her very quickly,” Faulkner said, “So it’s very cool to receive this award; it’s like a little piece of her.”
Last year, the $85-a-ticket fundraiser raised a little less than $60,000, but Chase-Morefield said it is on its way to raising more than $60,000 this year.
For more information on Second Harvest Food Bank, visit www.secondharvestfoodbank.org/.
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