Two forward-thinkers in West Jefferson will combine their passions to create a unique community service opportunity during the Ox Roast parade next weekend.
Susan Maggard, director of the Good Samaritan Food Pantry, was selected by the West Jefferson Community Association to be grand marshal for the annual Ox Roast parade on Saturday, Aug. 30.
The pantry, which operates out of the West Jefferson United Methodist Church, provides food supplies for hundreds of families in the West Jefferson and Galloway areas.
Maggard said it was “overwhelming” to be selected for the honor.
“I guess everyone thinks they don’t do that much. You just do things because they need done, not for recognition,” she said. “We have all these people who work and volunteer their time to operate the food pantry. I’m just the face of the pantry.”
Upon hearing Maggard had been selected as grand marshal, resident Marci Darlington decided to get involved. Each year, Darlington coordinates a “Make A Difference” project benefiting the West Jefferson community.
This year, in honor of Maggard, the project will benefit the Good Samaritan Food Pantry.
Darlington is asking parade watchers to line the route along the curbs with non-perishable food items. During the parade, volunteers with decorated grocery carts will collect the donations and take them directly to the pantry.
“What a wonderful tribute to Susan to be riding in her convertible waving and seeing all of her efforts applauded by the blanketed curbside’s full of loving donations,” Darlington said.
Maggard said she was ecstatic to hear of the project.
“It’s such a wonderful service,” Maggard said. “Anything we can get for the pantry is great and this is free.”
Darlington will follow up the Ox Roast parade food drive event with a Make A Difference Day event on Saturday, Oct. 25 at the West Jefferson United Methodist Church. She is arranging to secure the church’s basement and parking lot for the event will which feature food, music and a raffle for an Ohio State football fan basket including two OSU vs Illinois football tickets for the Nov. 1 game.
Tickets will be sold for $2 each or 6 for $10 and will be available beginning Sept. 1. Those interested in getting tickets can contact Marci Darlington at firstname.lastname@example.org, (740) 490-8317 or they can find Noodle’s Network on Facebook.
Paula Nance, the adviser for the West Jefferson Middle School student council, is assisting Darlington with the project for the fifth consecutive year, she said. They’re considering another “pantry parade” through residential areas as part of the festivities.
This will be the eighth year Darlington has coordinated a Make A Difference Day project for the area.
In 2009, her project at Arbors West was selected as one of the top 10 projects out of over 1,000 projects in the state of Ohio. She has been contacted twice by the contributing writers/judges from USA Weekend Magazine for her community projects. Three years ago, her project made the cut to be in the top 100 at the national level, and last year her project raised nearly $10,000 for the Good Samaritan Food Pantry.
Make A Difference Day is sponsored by USA Weekend Magazine and the Points of Light Foundation. It is the largest national day of service in the United States.
Kevin Dye is a contributing writer for The Madison Press covering the West Jefferson area.