A publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Master Provisions, Go Pantry and St. Elizabeth partner to keep children fed over the summer

By Benjamin Shipp
NKyTribune reporter

As the heat sets in and the final school bell of the year has rung, students are home for summer.

Pat Moevis, Cooler Manager at Master Provisions, gets food ready for delivery to Boone County schools (photos by Benjamin Shipp).

The break offers near-endless possibilities to occupy their time, from picking up a new outdoor hobby to reading a book, playing video games until sundown or going for a swim.

That is what most would call the ideal summer here in Northern Kentucky. But some local children must focus on a much more pressing matter: Where are they going to get food to eat this summer?

For some children in Boone County, a proactive collaboration between Master Provisions, St. Elizabeth Healthcare and Physicians, and Go Pantry offers a solution. The community partners are devoting much time and effort to be sure no child in Boone County has to confront that question.

On Tuesday, Master Provisions and their partners from Go Pantry set out to deliver 828 boxes of food, each weighing 100 lbs., to 11 of Boone County’s Public Schools. Once delivered boxes were distributed to families of students who qualify for free or reduced lunches during the school year.

2018 marks the second year of the summer meal collaboration between the three entities and the venture is off to a very fulfilling beginning.

Master Provisions Operations Manager Jeff Schaaf (orange shirt) and Villa Madonna sophomore Nik Dumancac help load a truck Tuesday.

Master Provisions Agency Relations Manager Victoria Short said, “In the month of April we serviced 779 families with boxes across Boone County and another 427 in May.”

They expect to deliver 1500 boxes of food to qualifying families throughout the summer.

Each branch of the collaboration fulfills a specific need to make the summer meals program a reality.

Go Pantry works with local school resource centers that distribute the boxes anonymously to hungry families in Boone County. St. Elizabeth donates food, or money for food, to fill the boxes. Master Provisions acts as the logistics end of the trio, allocating space in their warehouse, coolers, and contributing their trucking capabilities to facilitate the delivery of the food.

The safe and efficient delivery of the boxes is of the utmost importance to the team at Master Provisions.

“Unlike other food pantries, almost 80 percent of our food is perishable. We want to donate actual food,” Pat Moevis, the Cooler Manager at MP said. “We have bread, pastries, refrigerated goods, meat, fruit, vegetables, and frozen goods so we have to be efficient in how we handle and deliver the food we are donating.”

As the trucks are loaded, fork lifts carrying the crates of food slide across the smooth cement floor of the warehouse. A group of volunteers from MP and Go Pantry are hurrying along to send the trucks on their way to deliver the boxes.

“Local volunteers are at the core of this collaborative,” said MP Operations Manager Jeff Schaaf, “We really couldn’t do all of this without them.”

Nik and John Dumancac, twin brothers entering their sophomore year at Villa Madonna were hard at work loading the trucks to the brim.

A Master Provisions truck is loaded and ready to start it deliveries Tuesday.

“It is hard work” said Nik, “but I come to give back to the community and just help out.”

Volunteers ranged in age from old to very young, but they all have one thing in common: they want to give back to the community.

Jeff Schaaf, who was also helping load the trucks, said, “We do this because we want to help our community and give back more than we receive. I could go work anywhere, well just about anywhere, and not feel near the same satisfaction at the end of the day. It feels good to get out there and know you’re helping local families in need.”

To learn more, donate, or sign up to volunteer, visit masterprovisions.org or gopantry.org.

Benjamin Shipp is an intern at NKyTribune and a student at the University of Cincinnati. Contact the Northern Kentucky tribune at news@nkytrib.com

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