United for the Holidays to Distribute 563 Meal Kits to Families before Thanksgiving

United Way of Greater Toledo (UWGT) is proud to host United for the Holidays, in partnership with Islamic Food Bank and Grace Community Center. This series of events brings together more than 150 volunteers to pack 563 meal kits for families throughout NW Ohio. Each meal kit contains two-weeks worth of food.

The series kicked off with a press conference at 9:00 a.m. on Friday, November 11, 2022 at Grace Community Center. Meal packing events took place November 11 at Grace and November 18 at Islamic Food Bank (details included below).

“This is about more than ensuring everyone in our region enjoys a Thanksgiving dinner. United Way looks at the whole individual and full picture. Inflation is rising. Utility costs are going up. Forty-four percent of Lucas County residents and more than one-third of Ottawa and Wood County residents live paycheck to paycheck. Making sure there are groceries in the kitchen is one of the most important ways to offset household budgets so people can continue to make rent and mortgage payments. This is about ensuring that the 1 in 4 children in our community who are food insecure have enough to eat but it’s also about keeping families in their homes through cold winter months,” said Wendy Pestrue, president and CEO at United Way of Greater Toledo.

Partnership and collaboration are central to United for the Holidays. Islamic Food Bank and Grace Community Center carefully consider the contents of the meal boxes, ensuring a mix of fresh, healthy, and shelf-stable foods that families want to eat. Working with distribution partners who serve their neighborhoods every day ensures residents most in need get access to help.

“We are proud to partner with organizations working on hunger and related issues every day. These organizations have an intimate knowledge about those they serve, which is important to ensure that the food provided is not only accessible but also in line with their preferences. The food we distribute is culturally relevant and reflects our values. We serve food that we would enjoy with our family at home. When our neighbors visit a pantry or access food through our programs, we think of them as our guests and want them to feel welcomed,” said Dr. M. Razi Rafeeq, president and chair of Islamic Food Bank.

All area residents in need of safe and affordable access to food, shelter, utility and rental assistance, or other services are encouraged to contact United Way’s 211. The 24-7-365 free information and referral service is staffed by trained professionals ready to assist all NW Ohio residents with accessing resources they need. Call 211 or visit 211nwo.org (http://www.211nwo.org) .

The United for the Holidays series is made possible by Community Sponsors, Nysus Solutions, Signature Bank, and Taylor Automotive, and Supporting Sponsors, Gilmore Jasion & Mahler and Trust Company Family Offices.

Additional Volunteers are still needed, interested individuals should register at www.unitedwaytoledo.org/volunteer (https://www.unitedwaytoledo.org/volunteer/) .