The Village Coalition Against Hunger is seeking a $90,000 grant from Kiwanis International to purchase and equip a delivery vehicle to reach clients in the area, according to its director, Angela Douglas.

The Village Coalition Against Hunger is seeking a $90,000 grant from Kiwanis International to purchase and equip a delivery vehicle to reach clients in the area, according to its director, Angela Douglas.

The Children's Hunger Alliance wrote the grant application, Douglas said. The two organizations are partnering in an effort to obtain the grant.

The VCAH serves about 160 people, or about 35 families, she said. The families all have children in the New Albany-Plain Local School District, and deliveries are made every other week.

If the grant were awarded, the food pantry would be able to expand service to include elderly populations and families that are not part of the district, Douglas said.

"Our service reach would expand considerably," she said.

Douglas said the vehicle also would be refrigerated, enabling volunteers to deliver such items as eggs, milk and cheese for the first time.

The coalition currently has five delivery routes handled by volunteers in their personal vehicles, she said. They are able to deliver only "shelf-stable" items.

She said she expects to learn if the grant is awarded by the end of this month.

Operating on the go

Ever since the pantry at Christ Fellowship Church in Westerville closed in 2014, the VCAH has been operating in a mobile manner, Douglas said. Most of the food currently is stored in her garage.

The VCAH purchases most of its items from grocery stores, she said, and it supplements some of that with produce from New Albany's community garden.

A physical address would allow the coalition to become an approved pantry and begin purchasing food from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, she said.

The VCAH would be able to purchase $10 worth of groceries for every $1 spent at the food bank, Douglas said. Produce from the food bank is free.

Although the coalition has not found a permanent location, she said, she is considering talking to other central Ohio food pantries to borrow or rent pantry space for the short term.

A role in the schools

The VCAH also funds a snack program in the New Albany-Plain Local School District.

The VCAH gave the district $4,000 during the 2014-15 academic year for the snack program, said Pam Charles, food-services coordinator for the district. The district has spent $1,500 thus far, she said.

The snacks are available for all students in the elementary building, Charles said. Snacks are kept in building offices and are distributed in a manner that doesn't single out any student.

"It's just a little something to tide them over before lunch," she said.

The district also acts as an intermediary for families and the VCAH, Charles said.

Around Thanksgiving each year, she sends letters out to families with children in the free and reduced-cost lunch program with contact information for the VCAH. Last year, information was sent to families at the end of the school year for a VCAH-backed fresh fruit and vegetable drop-off program.

Eight percent of students in the district are in the free and reduced-cost lunch program, said district spokesman Patrick Gallaway.

With more than 4,800 students in the district, that percentage is significant, he said.

"It's really an incredibly important partnership with the VCAH," he said.

April 9 fundraiser

The VCAH will look to raise some money this weekend with its I Can 5K and 10K race, Douglas said. Funds raised will go toward the purchase of food.

"This is our one big fundraiser for the year," she said.

The race begins at 8 a.m. April 9 and starts and ends at the Philip Heit Center for Healthy New Albany, 150 W. Main St.

Registration is at 7 a.m. April 9 or online at premierraces.com. The cost for the 5K is $30 for online registration and $40 on race day; the 10K is $35 online and $45 on race day.

Douglas said this is the first time the race will include team registrations and the option to do a 10K. Those who register also will receive a free week of membership at the Heit Center's fitness center.

This year, the coalition has received more donations and sponsorships than they had in the past, she said.

Last year, funding from the event allowed the coalition to break even, and about 125 people participated.

This year, Douglas said, she hopes to have 200 to 300 participants.