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Second Harvest announces 2019 Harvest Hunger honorary chairperson

By Norwalk Reflector staff • Feb 6, 2019 at 7:00 PM

Second Harvest Food Bank of North Central Ohio’s (Second Harvest) announces Marcia Ballinger, president of Lorain County Community College, as the honorary chairperson for the 2019 Harvest for Hunger campaign which will kick-off on March 5 and run through the month of April.

“Marcia has demonstrated many years of strong leadership, experience and commitment to the region and we’re thrilled she is serving as the 2019 Honorary Chairperson for one of the most vital campaigns we participate in each year,” said Julie Chase-Morefield, president and CEO of Second Harvest.

From her unique perspective as LCCC’s president, Ballinger is very aware of the need in the community and sees Harvest for Hunger as a way to create greater awareness on the issue of hunger and a platform to take action. “Hunger is often silent. It’s not always something we know about or can even see. We know we have individuals and families with children right here in our community who are hungry,” she said. “When you’re hungry and do not know where your next meal will come from, everything else becomes secondary.”

In recent years, Lorain County Community College has been working to address food insecurity on the LCCC campus through the Commodore Cupboard food pantry, which provides food assistance to both students and community members. In 2018, Commodore’s Cupboard saw a 200 percent increase in usage.

“Many experience food insecurity for themselves and their families, which creates challenges to improve their lives and livelihoods through education.” Ballinger said. “That’s why I am proud to serve as honorary chair of the 2019 Harvest for Hunger Campaign and rally businesses and organizations in our community to join this important effort to help our entire community combat hunger.”

Harvest for Hunger is an annual food and funds drive taking place during March and April. Second Harvest organizes the campaign in partnership with the three other Feeding America food banks in northern Ohio serving 21 counties. This campaign is the largest single campaign of its kind in the country and is crucial for Second Harvest and the region. Giant Eagle and Heinen’s are long-time cornerstone supporters of the campaign through Check Out Hunger in the stores at the cash registers along with media partners including all major newspapers, TV, cable and radios stations. Local companies, businesses, organizations and civic clubs are a critical part of the HFH campaign with fund and food drives.

The 2019 Harvest for Hunger campaign goal is to raise 1.25 million meals for those struggling with food insecurity in this region. Every dollar raised in this community will help here to restock the shelves of food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters. Local companies, groups and organizations running fund and food drives are key to the success of this campaign and Second Harvest is looking for new partners for the 2019 campaign.

Ballinger has more than 25 years in community college leadership roles that have advanced student success, workforce and economic development, strategic planning, and institutional advancement. She was named as the fifth president of Lorain County Community College July 1, 2016. She was also awarded the prestigious Aspen Presidential Fellowship for Community College Excellence. Under her leadership and deep commitment to student success, Lorain County Community College was recognized by the American Association for Community Colleges (AACC) as the 2018 Recipient of the AACC Award of Excellence in Student Success.

Ballinger is passionate about empowering a thriving community where every student dream matters. She is a deeply engaged in the student completion movement at the state and national level serving in leadership roles for Completion by Design project funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Achieving the Dream and Jobs For the Future Policy Leadership Trust for Student Success.

In addition to growing talent, Dr. Ballinger has provided leadership for the College’s economic development initiatives, which focused primarily on the needs and potential of entrepreneurs. Under Dr. Ballinger’s leadership, hallmarks of the region’s entrepreneurial ecosystem were developed and thriving today, such as: GLIDE, a regional technology incubator and the Innovation Fund, the region’s earliest pre-seed fund for start-up technology companies.

For more information about being a part of the Harvest for Hunger campaign, visit secondharvestfoodbank.org/events/harvest-for-hunger or call 440-960-2265, ext 301.

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