UWGT’s United for the Holidays to distribute 550 Thanksgiving Meal Kits

Written by United Way

October 30, 2023

[TOLEDO, Ohio] – United Way of Greater Toledo (UWGT) is delighted to announce the launch of the third annual United for the Holidays meal kit building series in collaboration with the Islamic Food Bank and Grace Community Center. This heartwarming series of events will bring together more than 200 dedicated volunteers to assemble 550 meal kits, each containing two weeks’ worth of food for a family of four, to support families throughout Northwest Ohio.

The series kicks off on Thursday, November 2, 2023, at Grace Community Center, located at 406 W. Delaware, Toledo, OH 43610, and continues through Monday, November 20, with several meal kit building events held at both Grace and Islamic Food Bank, 1804 Monroe St, Toledo, OH 43604. Kits will be delivered to six regional partners for distribution to families.

Wendy Pestrue, CEO of United Way of Greater Toledo, underscored the impact of this endeavor, stating, “Our mission goes beyond simply providing Thanksgiving dinner for our region. We take a comprehensive view, recognizing the challenges of rising inflation and increasing utility costs that affect 40% of Northwest Ohio residents living paycheck to paycheck. Ensuring that families have groceries in their kitchens becomes a vital lifeline, enabling them to meet their financial commitments, like rent and mortgage, childcare, and healthcare costs.”

One in four children in Northwest Ohio suffer from food insecurity, unsure where their next meal is coming from and going without enough nutritious food to eat. Providing groceries helps families remain secure in their homes during the winter months. The Islamic Food Bank and Grace Community Center work diligently to curate the contents of the meal kits, ensuring a balance of fresh, healthy, and shelf-stable foods that families desire.

The heart of United for the Holidays lies in partnership and collaboration, Pestrue said, “The strength is in the dedication of volunteers who make meals possible for local families, particularly during these economically challenging times. We extend heartfelt gratitude to our generous sponsors who pool their resources to combat hunger and bring warmth and sustenance to families during the holiday season.”

For all residents in need of safe and affordable access to food, shelter, utility and rental assistance, or other services, United Way’s 211 is available. The 24/7, free information and referral service is staffed by trained professionals ready to assist all Northwest Ohio residents in accessing the resources they need. Residents can reach 211 by calling or visiting 211nwo.org.

The United for the Holidays series is made possible by the generous support of our Community Sponsors: Fifth Third Bank, Columbia Gas, Eastman & Smith, University of Toledo Medical Center (UTMC), Hartmann-Bogan, and Libbey.

Those who want to get involved are encouraged to donate funds (food donations are not being accepted) or register to volunteer at www.unitedwaytoledo.org/ufh2023.

Meal Kit Distribution and Partnerships

Islamic Food Bank will distribute to the following partners:

  • Sunshine Communities (50)
  • Helping Hands of St. Louis (100)
  • Perrysburg Heights Community (60)
  • Nuestra Pantry (50)
  • Ashland Baptist Food Pantry in Oregon (40)

Grace Community Center will distribute to families in the surrounding neighborhoods.

United Way of Greater Toledo mobilizes communities to ensure Northwest Ohio individuals and families can thrive. As one of the longest-serving charitable organizations in our region, we are trusted, innovative, collaborative and accountable. Proudly serving Lucas, Ottawa, and Wood counties since 1918.

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