Ohio State football coach Ryan Day, men’s basketball coach Chris Holtmann and athletic director Gene Smith and their families have pledged $175,000 toward a coronavirus emergency fund set up by the Mid-Ohio Foodbank.


The university announced the donations Tuesday. They will combine to give a total of $35,000 a month for April through August.


The money is to help the food bank purchase and distribute food to families who are impacted by the pandemic and resulting economic fallout that has led to high unemployment in Ohio and across the U.S.


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"We keep reading about the thousands of central Ohioans who are losing their jobs, and it’s just devastating," said Nina Day, the wife of the football coach. "Ryan and I hope that our family can help ease the burden a bit for other families in our community. We hope, too, that by our example other members of Buckeye Nation might join us in making donations to feed others."


According to the food bank, a donated dollar is worth $9 in groceries, meaning the $175,000 donation from the Ohio State athletic department’s three most-high-profile figures will generate $1.575 million worth of groceries for families.


The food bank provides 150,000 meals a day in 20 counties across central and eastern Ohio and has seen a 14 percent increase in food distributions since March 23, the day the first statewide "stay-at-home" order went into effect.


"Our families want to support the thousands of Ohio families who are struggling to make ends meet because of the coronavirus," Holtmann said. "The last thing they need to worry about is how they’ll put food on the table."


jkaufman@dispatch.com


@joeyrkaufman