YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – Earlier this week, First News caught up with a Mahoning County Deputy and his plan to pick up and donate fresh fish for those in need. On Wednesday, he took a nine hour drive to pick up the fish.
With the help of some local businesses and donations, a plan is now in place to donate over 800 meals.
Mahoning County Deputy Steven Morlan has friends who fish in Gloucester, Massachussets.
Those friends have seen their customer demand drop significantly in the last couple months.
“With those guys struggling, having an abundance of fish, I was talking to them, I said, hey, we have plenty of people down here that are out of work–not by any fault of their own, you know, due to the pandemic. So I asked if they’d take care of us on some fish and they were great about it,” Morlan said.
The haddock cost $1 per pound, and raising that money was a team effort.
Morlan says countless local businesses contributed and he doesn’t want to leave any out.
Jeff Chrystal owns a catering company in Youngstown. On Sunday, the haddocks were filleted to be cooked in his kitchen Monday.
“So, we’ll have this product done on Tuesday. It will be distributed out throughout our counties for the people in need, and it will all be done through Second Harvest Food Bank,” Chrystal said.
The food bank will take the cooked fillets and make full meal kits around them.
The Second Harvest Food Bank will not be distributing the food directly. Rather, the meals are going to authorized locations such as the Salvation Army and the Warren Family Mission.
Those locations will distribute the meals as they see fit.
Morlan says safety will stay at the top of his priorities throughout the process.
“We’ve been doing our best with our social distancing. Everybody’s six feet apart. You know, we stopped Wednesday at the gas station, that was it. Went to the dock, picked the fish up, boom, we’re back home,” Morlan said.
He says with so many recent layoffs, the need has skyrocketed.
“The last thing I want to see is a family go hungry if we can prevent it, especially some kids,” Morlan said.