BRISTOLVILLE, Ohio - With increasing utility costs during the cold winter months, putting food on the table for seniors and others on a fixed income becomes more difficult.
In rural areas, the struggle to put food on tables is just as real as it is in urban areas. But reaching food pantries can be compounded by the distance and the price of gas.
That's why Second Harvest Food Bank has created mobile pantries. The mobile pantries take food to rural areas by truck.
Currently, Second Harvest Food Bank operates mobile pantries in Bristolville, Mecca, Lake Milton, Goshen Township and the newest location is Franklin Township in Columbiana County.
People like Michael Nuzzi can then go to a mobile site to pick up food. "I'm on disability. I'm living on the money I get a month. With all my bills and everything, this makes it nice for people really hurting. They can rely on Second Harvest to give them some food," Nuzzi said.
Another way food is distributed is through volunteers like Chuck Lobenthal who loads boxes that are taken to local churches or to elderly who are shut in.
"You feel good when you're doing something helping people," Lobenthal said.
During the first eight months of this year, more than 10,200 people have received food from the mobile pantries.
Second Harvest says since January of this year, 31 percent more families have been served. There has been an increase of 24 percent for seniors.
The agency depends on the generosity of others.
"Every donation helps. Whether money or canned goods. It's a big help," Torney Comer with Second Harvest Food Bank.
Drop off sites include your local Sparkle Markets.
Second Harvest Food Bank feeds over 14,000 people a week in Mahoning, Trumbull and Columbiana counties.