Since March, more than 25 million Americans filed for unemployment amid the COVID-19 pandemic. Layoffs, furloughs and reductions in work hours have translated to increased requests for nutrition assistance at food pantries across the nation, including those served by St. Louis-based Operation Food Search [OFS]. St. Charles County Ambulance District [SCCAD] paramedics saw this critical need as an opportunity to repay the tremendous support and kindness that residents have shown first responders in recent weeks, and invite members of the community to join their #8KinMay effort to support OFS.
“The idea began as an internal collection among our team,” said Lieutenant Ashley Pease, who along with Paramedic Bill Norris, is leading the #8KinMay movement. “The support was swift and resounding – scores of our team members have pitched in, and ultimately raised more than $4,000, which will be used by OFS to stock pantries throughout our county.”
With appeals for food assistance certain to increase in the days to come, Norris, Pease and the SCCAD team have a simple request for members of the community able to make a donation: join us. Donations can be made directly to OFS using this link: https://bit.ly/3bnN7ti
“By shining a light on this critical need in our community, our hope is that residents will be moved to make a contribution to help neighbors, matching our paramedics’ $4,000 donation for a total of $8,000,” said Norris.
OFS has seen a tremendous increase in demand for services since the onset of COVID-19. The organization normally supports approximately 200,000 individuals monthly, and is seeing the need for emergency food supplies explode across the region as thousands of families are facing a loss of household income.
“The paramedics of St. Charles County have been long-standing partners in our effort to heal the hurt of hunger,” said Kristen Wild, Executive Director of OFS. “Monies collected through their #8KinMay effort will fund vital OFS programs that provide nutritional support to children, seniors and families.
#8KinMay is not the first pairing of SCCAD and OFS; the organizations have collaborated during the holiday season for the past decade on ‘Fill the Ambulance with Food’ – an initiative that has collected 25,000 pounds of food from local retirement communities.