For the sixth year in a row, nearly 300 people gathered on Court Street for Bounty on the Bricks, the largest annual fundraiser to support the Southeast Ohio Food Bank, on Saturday.
As the Southeast Ohio Food Bank’s largest fundraiser each year, Bounty on the Bricks brings people together with locally sourced foods to discuss food insecurity in the Athens region. The event took place between Washington and Union streets, where tables line the middle of the road for the evening.
“It’s really the community participation that grows every year (that makes the event successful),” Sydney Webber, vice president of community relations at OhioHealth O’Bleness Hospital, said. “People recognize the mission of the event, we have great participation. Our sponsors are very generous and come out to support each year.”
The fundraiser, along with matching funds up to $30,000 from sponsors Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville and the Sisters Health Foundation, brings in about $90,000 each year; however, last year it contributed $105,000 to the food bank from proceeds.
“It’s an extremely important event for our operations, and it makes all our work possible,” Asti Payne, development coordinator for the Southeast Ohio Food Bank, said.
Bounty on the Bricks is organized by OhioHealth, which has run the event for the past two years. The Athens Foundation created the fundraiser, Webber said.
The annual event has a planning committee which helps organize and improve Bounty on the Bricks each year. Members include community members from OhioHealth, Ohio University Credit Union, the Athens County Chamber of Commerce, Osteopathic Heritage Foundation of Nelsonville and the Sisters Health Foundation.
“We have different people from the community volunteering their time from January to August to help plan this event,” Payne said.
Becky Clark, owner of Pork and Pickles and head chef at the Kitchen at Devil’s Kettle, 97 Columbus Road, joined the effort as head chef this year after volunteering as a bartender at the event in 2017.
“I love so much what they’re doing, putting on this big event that’s beautiful and focused on food, but it’s really talking about food insecurities in our region,” Clark said.
Alongside the Bounty on the Bricks committee, she organized a locally sourced, gourmet meal for fundraiser attendees. The meal featured in-season produce and meat from local farms.
“When we talk about sustainability we have to talk about it from an environmental perspective but also from a social perspective, and that’s what the food bank works with,” Clark said.
More than 70 volunteers helped prepare and serve the food, set up and break down the block-long table, decorate and bartend.
“The strength of community participation has really made this successful and sustaining,” Webber said.