Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Griffin to speak at church fundraiser for meal program

Proceeds will fund the Westerville Christian Church's Friday Fare program

Wednesday February 25, 2015 8:53 AM

Ohio State football legend and two-time Heisman trophy winner Archie Griffin will speak at the Friday Fare fundraiser at 7 p.m. Feb. 27 at Westerville Christian Church, 471 E. College Ave.

It's the first time the church has hosted such a well-known figure but not its first Friday Fare program, organizers said.

In 2008, as part of the church's 40th anniversary celebration, Friday Fare began as a ministry to reach out and help the Westerville community.

A small group of volunteers delivered bags containing weekend meals to the families of six Westerville students who participate in the district's free lunch program.

Six years later, the Friday Fare program has mushroomed. It now serves 90 families in 13 Westerville schools, providing about 700 meals a week, church officials said.

Recipients are recommended by school officials, who target families who need a little extra help.

Greg Bondurant, lead minister at Westerville Christian Church, said he does not know specifically what Griffin will speak about but he knows it will be relevant and powerful.

"Archie's heart resonates with helping hungry kids get food. I know that in some capacity he will share a little about his childhood, his OSU days and that Friday Fare is something he supports," Bondurant said in an e-mail.

There will be time for a question-and-answer session with Griffin, too.

Bondurant said community members should come to the event because it's an opportunity to raise money to buy food for hungry families and to meet a well-known public figure.

"They will get a chance to meet someone like Archie Griffin who has been a great ambassador for children, the Ohio State University and the community of Westerville," he said.

Tracy Rush, a member of Westerville Christian Church, said Griffin and his wife, Bonita, longtime Westerville-area residents, have supported Friday Fare in the past.

Rush said that getting Griffin to come was just a matter of asking.

"To put it simply, one of our ministers is a friend of his, and, well, he just asked. Archie enthusiastically responded with a yes," she said in an e-mail.

After Griffin earned his degree in industrial relations at OSU, he was a first-round draft choice of the Cincinnati Bengals in 1976.

He's currently president and CEO of the Ohio State University Alumni Association and the university's senior vice president for alumni relations.

Rush said the church expects 150-200 guests to attend the Friday Fare Fundraiser. All proceeds will fund the growing weekend meal program.

Tickets to Griffin's talk Friday are $75 each or $125 for two and may be purchased by contacting Jennifer Price at 614-891-6842 or by e-mail at jennifer.price@westervillechristian.org.