Muransky’s $100K Donation Drives United Way’s Biggest Food Giveaway

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio – Volunteers slowly started to trickle in to the back entrance of the Covelli Centre on Tuesday afternoon, preparing to package hundreds of boxes of food for the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley.

Volunteers will spend the week packing boxes before the giveaway event Saturday, held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the downtown Youngstown arena. The pickup required registration and capacity has been met, the United Way says. 

The funds for the distribution came from a $100,000 donation by Muransky Companies CEO Ed Muransky and his family, as well as Southwoods Health.

“We began last spring during the Saturday Day of Caring, taking food to people’s houses with Ed Muransky. This is just an extension of that,” says Bob Hannon, president of the United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley. “Ed said, ‘These COVID numbers are going through the roof. We need to do more.’ ”

Hannon says Saturday’s distribution will be the biggest in the chapter’s history and that more than 150 volunteers will be on hand.

“We can’t do it without volunteers, and they’ve stepped up in a big way and will on Saturday as well,” Hannon says.

The United Way plans to distribute over 700 boxes filled with fruits, vegetables, potatoes, bread and chicken breasts. Nemenz IGA, Save A Lot and the Churchill Commons Giant Eagle provided the food. The distribution will also have some sweets available. Cookies and chocolates will be provided in treat bags, and Auntie Anne’s will have a truck parked at the site to serve pretzels.

“I think Ed Muransky and Southwoods, being in the healthcare industry, see the need continuing to grow and escalate, and felt they needed to do something very impactful, and that’s what this is,” Hannon says. “Really, without them, none of this would be happening Saturday.”

So far, the Saturday of Caring events distributed about 300 meals per week for eight weeks.

Elena Martin and Connor Mulichak, juniors at Canfield High School, prepare to help box canned food for Saturday’s United Way of Youngstown and the Mahoning Valley food distribution at the Covelli Centre.

People of all ages plan to pack boxes from Monday through Wednesday. On Tuesday, high school students from Canfield, Boardman, Campbell, Austintown and Girard High Schools joined adult volunteers and players and coaches from the Youngstown State University football team in unloading deliveries of food and packing boxes.

Elena Martin and Connor Mulichak, juniors at Canfield High School, looked for volunteer opportunities to join the National Honor Society. But COVID-19 has shut down some of the normal charitable organizations.

 “With all the food and Christmas time, there are definitely a lot of families that need this, and you can see how much food is needed,” Martin says.

Mulichak says the number of young participants could lead to younger volunteers at future events.

“After doing this, I feel like I’m going to want to come here more,” Mulichak says. “It’s not a hard thing to do and it’s good for the community.”

The United Way will also deliver food to 300 recipients forced to stay home on Dec. 19. Some of the money from Muransky’s donation will help fund the deliveries.

Muransky and Southwood Health will also sponsor dinners at the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley during the week of Christmas. For the four days prior to Christmas, Muransky and Southwoods Health will send food from local restaurants to the Rescue Mission of the Mahoning Valley. The dinners will come from Chick-fil-A, Belleria Pizza, The Lake Club. Children will receive desserts and the United Way will provide hats and gloves.

Pictured: Rollen Smith, the Youngstown State University football team’s assistant director of operations, hands boxes of pasta to Aboubakare Dabo, a freshman defensive lineman on the YSU football team.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.