A photo from a past Bounty on the Bricks event; which has raised $315,000 in total for the Southeast Ohio Food Bank over the course of the past four years. (Submitted)

Bounty on the Bricks Slated for August 12

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Bounty on the Bricks is an annual community party that raises funds for the Southeast Ohio Food Bank through a gourmet dinner presented on the iconic brickwork of Court Street in late summer.

Last year alone the event managed to present the Southeast Ohio Food Bank with $90,000, which was dispersed to various food pantries throughout the nine counties that the food bank serves. That enormous donation was made possible by matching funds presented to the event by the Sisters Health Foundation and the Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville.

Earlier this year it appeared that Bounty on the Bricks was in jeopardy when the Athens Foundation, traditionally the presenting organization for the event, was unable to continue their role in organizing the annual meal. OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital stepped in and took over the Foundation’s old role – ensuring that Bounty on the Bricks 2017 would be a reality.

Sydney Webber, the director of marketing and communications at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, said that support of the event made sense for OhioHealth given the close knit nature of the organization’s mission and the goal of Bounty.

“Wellness starts with what you eat, and, for many, having access to food in the first place,” said Webber. “In order for us to be stewards of health, we need to be doing what we can to make sure that people have access to food. So far it’s been a great partnership, and we’re looking forward to a longer partnership.”

Bounty is entirely curated by a committee, with OhioHealth supporting the event as a whole. The event itself is a big one – featuring an elaborate meal prepared by Hocking College’s chef Alfonso Contrisciani made with seasonal and regionally grown foods.

“If you’re not familiar with the difference between a food bank and a food pantry, it might be best to think of us (the Southeast Ohio Food Bank) as a distributor to member agencies,” said Asti Payne, the development coordinator at the Southeast Ohio Food Bank. Payne said that not all of the member agencies are food banks; some are homeless shelters, homeless shelters – all in all, the agency distributes 4,909,850 meals every year to people who fight daily against hunger through 60 member agencies. “We take the total amount raised by Bounty and we distribute it to our member agencies, who provide food to the community at a local level.”

Southeast Ohio in general is an area that is stricken by food insecurity – with a whopping one in six adults dealing with hunger every day and an even more shocking one in four children in the same situation.

“We’re grateful for community support – from those who are taking on the leading roles in the event to those community members who purchase tickets for the event,” said Webber. “The numbers are high for hunger in our area, and they can’t really be addressed without getting the entire community involved.”

Bounty on the Bricks will take place on Court Street (weather permitting) on August 12, starting at 7 p.m.