With the economic impact to many due to COVID-19 pandemic, Bob Evans Foods extended a neighborly hand Friday morning by donating boxes of egg and potato products to help some with food needs.
Bob Evans Foods officials contacted Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce officials about donating a large quantity of egg and potato products for the community. They along with Hopkins County Regional Civic Center staff worked out logistics of hosting a free food distribution. Saputo provided trailers to house the foods in overnight, according to Chamber of Commerce President/CEO Lezley Brown.
Once the drive-through distribution was worked out, Brown Wednesday announced the food would be available on Good Friday and asked the community to help spread the message so those in need would know about the opportunity to receive free food.
A team from the different businesses and organizations and volunteers met Thursday to pack the products brought in from Bob Evans’ Minnesota plan into 2,400 boxes, which were stored overnight on site in three “reefer” trailers provided by Saputo so they’d be ready to go April 10 at 9 a.m.
However, people began arriving around 6 a.m. at the Civic Center to line up for their turn to receive a box, which Bob Evans Foods HR Manager Andy Mendezona said included a few dozen hard boiled eggs, 3 quarts of liquid eggs, and bags of mashed, red, diced and shredded potatoes.
The line quickly grew to the point distribution organizers began putting boxes in vehicles ahead of the planned 9 a.m. start time. Working in teams, three to four cars were loaded at a time, taken an average of 9 seconds per car.
There were no requirements nor records. People had only to drive up, remain in their vehicles, allow the volunteer team to access either their trunk, truck bed or a side door, where the free box of edibles was placed, then exit through the Arena.
By 8:30 hundreds of cars lined the roadway, and continued to grow. Most, at that time, waited courteously and appreciatively for their turn to benefit from the gift offered by Bob Evans Foods.
At 10:30 a.m. April 10, the line continued to wind from Main Street near Reservoir Street to Hillcrest Drive, then continued north to Houston Street, turning south onto League, the continuing through Park Circle to Connally Street, entering behind the Civic Center near the Arena.
The distribution was planned through 3 p.m. or until they run out of food.