Hundreds of men, women and children shivered in long lines as they waited to pick up boxes of food and personal care items from three big rigs parked near downtown. Seven other semi trailers were dispatched to surrounding counties.
"My cupboards are almost empty," said Auston Maxwell, who waited in line in Wilmington for an hour.
The supplies from Feed the Children, a nonprofit hunger relief group based in Oklahoma City, was aimed at spotlighting the plight of families hit hard by the recession.
Each family received a 25-pound box of food and a 10-pound box of personal-care items. Canned tomatoes, breakfast cereal and muffins were donated by various companies, including Toledo-based Hirzel Canning Co.
Wilmington, a small city of 12,000 people about 60 miles southwest of Columbus, was devastated when DHL announced last May that it was pulling out. The move is expected to lead to the loss of 8,000 jobs at the city's air park. So far, 3,000 are gone.
Maxwell, 18, quit his job at ABX Air last year because he knew he was going to be laid off. ABX, which flies and sorts cargo for DHL at the air park, has laid off workers as DHL winds down operations.
"I'm just having a rough time," said Maxwell, who has a 1-year-old son with his fiancee "You can't even get a job at McDonald's right now."
Ron Scaff, who was laid off at ABX in December, said Thursday was the first time he had ever taken a handout. He has drawn his final severance check and is preparing to sign up for unemployment benefits.
Scaff, 64, said he and his wife are running out of money. Even thought they still have food, the donation will help, he said.
"It's bad, but you just keep it in the Lord's hands and it's going to be fine," Scaff said. "He's going to take care of us. He supplied this."