The first annual Hocking Hills Gives Back in July campaign raised $4,197.89 to support the SE Ohio Foodbank’s mission to end hunger in our region. Eight businesses joined in the campaign to donate funds and raise awareness for the foodbank’s work. Debbie Todd, who owns The Woodlands at Hocking Hills with her family, started the campaign and recruited other local businesses. She explains, “We truly believe ‘The Woodlands’ is bigger than the five of us. Our ultimate vision is to integrate our “home in the hills” with our passion for people. What better way than to join forces with our community to GIVE BACK to our community!”
With a combination of social media posts and personal appeals to fellow business owners, the campaign grew to include The Woodlands at Hocking Hills, Eco Luxe Vacations, Hocking Hills Winery, The Box Hop, ReWild Rentals, Kinder Beginnings, Hocking Hills Inn and Coffee Emporium, and Gifts That Give Back. Recognition of the need to provide food assistance motivated businesses to join the campaign. Linda Thomas, owner of Hocking Hills Inn and Coffee Emporium, says, “The reason why we joined this fundraiser is because we love our community! Everyone needs nourishment, coming together we can make a difference in the lives of those in need!”
The opportunity to join forces with fellow local business owners also inspired campaign participants, “We were excited by the opportunity to partner with our local hosts to contribute to the Hocking Hills Gives Back campaign this year. We know that Southeast Ohio has one of the highest rates of food insecurity in the state and that 1 in 4 kids in Ohio is affected. These problems have just gotten worse with supply chain problems and increased food prices. This community means so much to us as Seth grew up in Southern Ohio and both of us have many memories of this area growing up. We were happy to do a small part to contribute to helping to alleviate some of the struggles faced by so many of our fellow Ohioans,” says Erin Eckenrode of The Box Hop.
In addition to providing financial support, the campaign helped raise awareness of the challenges faced by those struggling with food insecurity and the work of foodbank to help neighbors overcome those challenges. “As a new business in the area, we were happy to support a lifesaving cause in our local community. The efforts of the Southeast Ohio Foodbank are inspiring and learning of the hurdles they face to provide a basic need was eye-opening. I encourage anyone who feels called to learn more about their local food bank and how to get involved in such a worthy cause,” says Aimee Mettle of ReWild Rentals.
Pictured left to right: Laura Davidson, Hocking Hills Winery, Debbie Todd, The Woodlands at Hocking Hills, Eva Bloom, SE Ohio Foodbank, Linda Thomas, The Hocking Hills Inn and Coffee Emporium, Aimee Mettle, ReWild Rentals