YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WKBN) – A Columbus-based health insurance provider is partnering with churches and service agencies around the state to help the less fortunate this holiday season.
Workers with Buckeye Health Plan are spending the week passing out frozen turkeys to 130 churches and social service organizations in Ohio’s 11 largest communities, including the Mahoning Valley.
Representatives from local agencies then pick up those frozen turkeys to distribute into their communities.
“We call it ‘Operation: Feed the Hungry.’ We’ve been doing this for 10 years now, this is the 10th year,” said Christopher Beers of the Buckeye Health Plan.
Locally, about 300 turkeys will be passed out with the help of local agencies, one of which is Holy Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Youngstown. Pastor Lew Macklin is pulling double duty by also working as a chaplain for Youngstown police.
Macklin said the 27 turkeys he’s getting will be distributed to needy families in his area.
“We know the need in our community and we have families within our community, in our neighborhoods on the south side, who’ve already expressed needs,” he said.
While this is the third year Macklin’s congregation has received turkeys through this program, others have been involved even longer.
“There are long-time partners of ours. We work with all these organizations on a daily basis throughout the entire year. We know what their needs are,” Beers said.
But those taking part in the program realize this is much more than just passing out food for the holidays.
“Our mission is to transform the health of the community, one person at a time,” Beers said.
A valuable lesson during the holiday season.
“It’s not only just hope and help, but it is also an opportunity for folks to see that the community is concerned, is reaching back,” Macklin said.
One of the drop-off locations was at the Spanish Evangelical Church on Youngstown’s east side.