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Jeep Fest, Columbia Gas partner to pack 400 meals for northwest Ohio kids

Toledo Jeep Fest isn't just an event to show off all things Jeep. Organizers and event sponsors wanted to make sure a charitable aspect was included.

TOLEDO, Ohio — After thousands came to downtown Toledo over the weekend for Jeep Fest, those tasked with putting on the event wanted to show appreciation by giving back to the community.

Toledo Jeep Fest isn't just an event to show off all things Jeep. Organizers and one of the event sponsors, Columbia Gas, wanted to make sure a charitable aspect was incorporated as well.

The groups partnered with Connecting Kids to Meals to put together weekend food packs before the start of school next week.

"That's what we wanted to do," Columbia Gas Public Affairs Manager Cheri Pastula said. "When we heard about the work that they are doing to feed so many kids in northwest Ohio, our employees jumped at the chance to be able to help out, volunteer and help support those kids to make sure they have food in their homes."

Connecting Kids to Meals President Wendi Huntley said about a quarter of the kids in Lucas County don't know where their next meal is coming from. That need grows during the summer, and an event like the meal pack with Jeep Fest and Columbia Gas helps make sure more kids are fed.

"When school is out, we have 60,000 kids that actually rely on school meals. Not every one of them is in dire need, but tens of thousands of them are," Huntley said.

Just one meal has a big impact on our community and enhances it. But Huntley said the group packed 400 meals, which means it will provide more access and food security for the kids who need it most.

"Every meal packed has about 15 items in there: 13 food items and then a couple of spork kits so the kids don't have to look for sporks. But, they're helping us be able to put out hundreds of thousands of meals and meal items into our community," Huntley said.

After all the meals were packed, volunteers loaded them into Jeeps to be dropped off at the Kent and Lagrange Branch libraries.

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