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1,000 pounds of fish will feed the needy

YOUNGSTOWN — Mahoning County Sheriff deputies traveled over the weekend to Massachusetts where they were able to pick up 1,000 pounds of haddock, which was prepared Sunday and Monday for distribution to area pantries served by the Second Harvest Food Bank.

Dennis Malloy, Northeastern Ohio field director for Whitetails Unlimited, said Mahoning County deputy Steve Morlan is friends with deep sea fishermen who are featured on the “Wicked Tuna” television show.

“The fishing industry has been hit hard because most of the fish fries have been shut down across the East Coast, and they were able to help us out by marking the price of fish down tremendously as a donation,” Malloy said.

Morlan and deputy Mike Taylor drove 10 hours to Gloucester on Saturday night in a truck donated by Greenwood Chevrolet to pick up the 1,000 pounds of haddock at the docks. They came back to have it filleted Sunday and cooked Monday in the large kitchen at Jeffrey Chrystal Catering in Youngstown.

“I have friends who are active fishermen in Gloucester. They have seen their customer demand drop significantly so I asked if they help take care of people here with some of the fish” Morian said.

Morlan said since the fishermen have an abundance of fish, he told them how in the Mahoning Valley there are a lot of people out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Plans are for the National Guard to stop today and pick up the 800 prepared fish meals for Second Harvest Food Bank to give this week to many area food pantries and banks in the Mahoning Valley.

“This will provide 800 meals with the National Guard to help distribute the fish. We spent over five and a half hours filleting the fish on Sunday so it could be cooked Monday and Tuesday,” Malloy said.

Morlan said people are permitted to leave the state and come back, because this was a food issue.

“This is no different than a truck driver going to get food or other items,” he said.

Malloy said everyone is going through tough times so this was a good community effort — with them being able to get donations to pay for the fish.

“We put out a call to local business leaders and others who know how to filet fish and they showed up and helped,” he said.

The haddock cost $1 per pound, and raising that money was a team effort by many local businesses, Malloy said.

Event organizers said they followed social distancing when working at Jeff Chrystal Catering, standing six feet apart when working.

Malloy said the National Guard will take the fish to Second Harvest Food Bank kitchen and package them for distribution.

“These will be ready to eat meals when the public picks them up,” he said.

Morlan said it does not only help people in need in the Mahoning Valley but also in Glousester since the local fishermen there are not making much money. It is one the biggest and oldest fishing industry areas on the East Coast.

He said the whole idea was to help the growing number of local families laid off from their jobs because of the coronavirus.

“We do not want to see anyone go hungry,” he said.

Coordinators of the effort are Outdoor Blues, Whitetails Unlimited, and the Mahoning County Juvenile Advisory Board.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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