POMEROY — While Meigs County mirrors the national trend of hunger in America, the Meigs Cooperative Parish is doing its part through the food pantry to alleviate the problem for families here.
According to Nancy Thoene, who manages the Parish office, May was a record month for people coming to the food pantry to request food. She said 178 requests from 69 households were handled during the month, and noted that more and more seniors are coming in for food assistance. Last month’s figures by age groups were 21 seniors, 100 adults and 57 children from 69 different households receiving food assistance.
“That was a record for us,” said Thoene. “Toward the end of the month the volunteers who operate the program had trouble keeping up with the requests.”
At the recent summer food distribution a total of 259 requests for food were filled. Farmers Bank employees came in to assist the regular volunteers with the bagging. As for the supply of food, Thoene said, it’s holding up and she credited those who contribute on a regular basis including the Home National Bank which carries out a very successful “Stop Hunger” program for the Parish.
While donations of food are always needed, Thoene said there are other more urgent problems at this time.
She mentioned the expense of operating a large building like the Mulberry Community Center and the lack of money to pay for things like utilities, insurance and maintenance, as well as the expense in initiating new ministries, like the drug and alcohol program.
The Saviour’s Soup, a luncheon program, had to be discontinued for a time, but plans are moving forward to get it back into operation soon.
Don Shaffer, director of the Meigs Cooperative Parish, says that much of the operational money comes from the Parish Shop. While the emphasis of the Parish Shop in the past has been on clothing, household and miscellaneous items, he has now partnered with World Vision, a non-profit organization located in Morgan County, to purchase brand name items which are new or “seconds” for resale in the Parish Shop.
The profits from everything sold there goes directly into building operating expenses. Toilets, sinks, faucets and paint are included in the current stock obtained through World Vision.
“Those in need of, say, a commode but don’t have enough money to go buy one, can come here and get it at a low price, and then go to the local hardware store to get what they need to install it,” said Shaffer. “What we have changes month after month as different items become available, so people need to come by the Parish Shop often and take a look.”
He also emphasized a need for more volunteers to work in the various programs which are all geared to make life a little easier for everyone in these difficult economic times.