Siblings Joshua, 4, and Christy Park, 7, get help from Home Depot's Mia Thomas, center left, and David Lopez, right, in making tool boxes.
A strange weather pattern blew into the area briefly Saturday evening. For about 10 minutes, it rained carrots, pumpkins, grapes, and apples over a half-acre grid in Sylvania Township.
As part of the first Hunger Awareness Family Festival, a chopper circled the crowd three times, landed, then circled twice more before dropping 20 plastic fruits and vegetables on a 700-square grid, of which 410 spaces were sold to raise money for Feed Lucas County Children. Each item corresponded to a particular prize, and whoever held a $40 ticket representing one of the 700 squares onto which the item fell won one of 20 prizes.
Spaces on the half-acre MyPlate plot, billed as the largest in the United States, were sold as part of the event at the corner of Centennial and Brint roads.
Community partners taught more than 250 children and adults about health and wellness. Also featured was a silent auction, a fresh market, art activities, an obstacle course, bounce houses, and dance performances.
The Ohio State University extension taught children and families about fruit, vegetables, grains, protein, and dairy food groups, as did Owens Dietetic.
Ed and Cindy Simon, who live down the road from the event, arrived with their daughter Ashley. They said they know a lot of people being fed by Feed Lucas County.
“We hear so much about high fructose corn syrup, but plain sugar is just as bad,” Mr. Simon said. “We must be aware of everything.”
Jonathan White, 9, of Sylvania, center, dances in the rain with his cousins Carter Miller, 3, left, and Brady Miller, 7, right, during the festival.
More than a dozen vendors were at the event. Toledo Grows sold fresh vegetables to raise money for Feed Lucas County Children. Staff of Jon Frankel DDS gave out free toothbrushes and talked about dental hygiene, and the Dental Center of Northwest Ohio promoted its program that helps needy families. Walgreens’ personnel discussed immunization for shingles, and the Sylvania Branch of Toledo-Lucas County Library had arts and crafts and distributed library card applications.
The day featured live music too. Area favorite the Distant Cousinz Band played and Bowling Green native Abby Ray, a country singer residing in Nashville, sang her new single, “Love Can Feed the World.” Co-written by Ms. Ray and Kat Korac, 100 percent of proceeds from the song’s sale will benefit Feed Lucas County Children for the next year.
Event directors said the purpose of the day was two-fold. By promoting family wellness nutrition and providing free activities, the organizers aimed to bring more attention to Feed Lucas County Children.
For the last decade, the grass-roots organization has provided up to 7,200 meals per day to impoverished youths during the summer. The organization has a mission to end child hunger in Lucas County, and executive director Tony Siebeneck said this is the first time it has turned to the public for funds.
“We need more money to purchase more cooking equipment. That’s what’s holding us back from feeding more kids,” Mr. Siebeneck said.
Project Director Karen Medina, the organizer, said she wanted the event to “sing and shout” so people will understand that children need more support.
Cassandra Fields’s daughter, Janet Whitney, 8, is in the Feed Lucas County Children summer camp and participated in the talent show.
“This program is so great because one, it’s free, and two, it brings in a lot of inner-city youth as volunteers and keeps them off the street,” she said.
Although weather hurt attendance, Mr. Siebeneck said a lot of people saw the value of the message and said he was pleased with its success.
Contact Danielle Trubow at: Dtrubow@theblade.com or 419-724-6050.