Paul McKibben reports:
For the seventh straight year, Warren County commissioners are doing something unheard of in these parts.
They are organizing a taxpayer-funded food drive to benefit county pantries.
The commissioners’ role in a charitable campaign is unique among Southwest Ohio’s four county commissions – and possibly the state. But with zero general fund debt, the county can afford to donate, as commissioners did this year, $30,000 of taxpayer money to the drive.
The County Commissioners’ Association of Ohio said many counties often partner with the United Way on charitable campaigns, but its officials didn’t know of any county taking it further.
Commissioner Pat South originated the idea in 2006. She said “there’s a major need out there” that’s not being filled by government and social service agencies. She said those organizations have not been able to keep pace with the demand on food pantries.
Despite a relatively low unemployment rate – Warren County’s 5.8 percent unemployment rate in September was below the state’s 6.5 percent – there is still a need for food pantries in Ohio’s second-fastest-growing county.
“We still have a lot of people unemployed, and we have a ton of people under-employed,” South said.
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