COLUMBUS -- May is National Egg Month and to celebrate the Ohio Poultry Association (OPA) and Ohio's egg farmers are once again teaming up with the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks (OASHF) for the fourth year to donate more than one million eggs statewide to feed hungry Ohio families.

Eight Ohio egg farmers and the family farmers who grow for them will donate 1,004,400 eggs, to be provided to local hunger charities through OASHF's network of 12 regional foodbanks. Eggs will be delivered starting the week of May 16. The contribution of more than 83,000 dozen eggs has an estimated retail value of more than $116,000.

Journey's End Ministries Director Janet Gore said the Newcomerstown food bank received more than 90 dozen eggs from this program.

"Eggs are a critical source of high protein and other essential nutrients vital to the diets of the clients we serve every day," said Lisa Hamler-Fugitt, OASHF executive director. "We are so grateful for Ohio's egg farmers' continuous support especially as we see our food pantry lines continue to grow. However, we know that while this is a significant contribution, it does not even begin to go far enough to meet the increasing demand."

According to a recent USDA study, Ohio is tied for ninth in the nation for the number of households at risk of hunger, significantly higher than our bordering states. More than one in six Ohioans were served by the state emergency network between October and December2010. Of those, more than 280,000were senior citizens, more than 759,000 were children, and one in three households had at least one working adult.

"Ohio's egg farmers have a long-standing partnership with the state's foodbanks and we are proud to give back to those who are less fortunate," said Jim Chakeres, OPA executive vice president. "Even though we recognize this donation does not begin to meet the demand, we hope it will make a significant difference in the lives of Ohioans who need it most."

Those participating in the donation program include egg farmers and the family farmers that grow for the following farms: Ohio Fresh Eggs of Croton, Hillandale Farms of Akron, Ft. Recovery Equity of Fort Recovery, Hemmelgarn and Sons Inc. of Coldwater, Hertzfeld Poultry Farms of Grand Rapids, Weaver Brothers, Inc. of Versailles, Rindler Poultry of St. Henry, and Cal-Maine Farms of Rossburg.

In addition to the statewide egg donation, Hamler-Fugitt said that OASHF has partnered with Ohio's farmers for 14 years through the Ohio Food Purchase and Agricultural Clearance Program (OFPACP). OFPACP is a statewide effort to direct Ohio's surplus of agricultural products through the network of foodbanks in the state to ensure that Ohio families have a source of nutritious, Ohio-grown and raised, and produced food products. The program works with Ohio farmers and commodity groups to provide foodbanks with surplus and unmarketable agricultural products at production cost.

"No other state program can illustrate this kind of benefit -- serving millions of Ohioans in need, helping our state's farmers sell surplus foods, addressing hunger relief in all 88 counties and all for less than one dollar, per person served in the network, per month," said Hamler-Fugitt.

OASHF's 12 member foodbanks provide hunger relief in all 88 Ohio counties. In 2010, OASHF distributed more than 135 million pounds of food and grocery items to nearly 3,000 member charities, food pantries, soup kitchens, homeless shelters, and other food assistance organizations.

For information regarding the Ohio Association of Second Harvest Foodbanks, visit OASHF online at www.oashf.org or call (614) 221-4336.