The Byron Saunders Foundation is a 501(c)(3), non-profit organization established in 2002. Our mission is to provide Thanksgiving meals to families in need in Central Ohio and surrounding counties. Our ministry reflects God’s unconditional love and embraces all people regardless of race, status or religion. Each year, we count on the generous support of our community to help us reach our goal. This year our goal is to make sure at least 6,000 families will share a meal together at Thanksgiving.
In 1997, Brian Wollenburg, a 23-year-old resident of Canal Winchester, Ohio, wanted to give back to the community by helping those less fortunate than him. To fulfill his dream, he organized a group of relatives, friends, and co-workers who met at Groveport’s Birch Tavern to assemble 50 baskets of food for a Thanksgiving dinner for the needy that first year. The late Marty Muncy, who owned Birch Tavern, compiled the list of recipients from names contributed by the food pantries in Groveport and Obetz and from the tavern’s Adopt-A-Family program. The food was delivered to families in Groveport, Canal Winchester, Obetz and Lockbourne.
In 1999, one of the young volunteers, a personal friend and former supervisor of Brian’s, was killed in an auto accident. When Brian received a 501(c)(3) non-profit status for his project in 2002, he named the organization The Byron Saunders Foundation in memory of his friend.
Since its inception, the project has grown tremendously with the help of many volunteers. For the past several years, the Foundation has provided Thanksgiving meals to to more than 5,000 families. The food is distributed both directly to individuals and also through schools, churches, and charitable organizations already assisting the less fortunate in the area. In this way, the Foundation serves those in need with dignity and ensures the most appropriate use of our donor funds and food.
We are grateful to the individuals, groups and corporate donors who contributed in a variety of ways that help to make our mission a success. They have made a difference in many families’ lives by providing encouragement, hope and food.
Our ministry reflects God’s unconditional love and embraces all people regardless of race, status, or creed. We believe that we can best serve God by being of assistance to those in greatest need. Finally, we ask for your prayers to guide us and maintain the purity of our mission.
Brian Wollenberg starts a $1500 Thanksgiving project serving 50 families
The foundation was created and named after Byron Saunders
Knox County becomes a Chapter
Brian Wollenberg starts working full-time serving as Board President
Served 5000 families
Delaware and Fairfield Counties become Chapters