GALLIPOLIS — Those in the community that fall upon hard times often reach out to local charities dedicated to serving families in need, but what happens when those organizations are in need themselves? They reach out to the community they serve.
The Outreach Center in Gallipolis provides food to thousands of people each year through its food pantry located on State Street in Gallipolis, and, as a result of the recent storm that kept the center in the dark for four days, much of the food that would have gone out to families already in need, as well as those without food as a result of the power outage, was lost.
According to board member Sherrie Fenderbosch, frozen food in seven different freezers spoiled and was disposed of as a result of the power outage — food that would have supplied families throughout the community for the next few months.
“We don’t have the funds to restock, and we need donations of food or contributions so we can purchase food so we can help these people who don’t have food in their house right now,” Fenderbosch said. “It’s more now than just our regular people. There are people coming in and saying, ‘I lost all of my food, and I don’t have enough food to survive. Can you help me?’”
Fenderbosch reported that Outreach Center volunteers will take any type of food donation — both frozen and otherwise — but cannot accept donations of wild game meat and other items that do not have ingredient labels.
Additionally, monetary donations are more than happily accepted and will be used to purchase food locally as the outside food pantries in the area where Outreach Center volunteers usually purchase goods to restock their shelves are also running low on supplies.
The Outreach Center is operated in part through funding provided by the United Way, as well as through the operation of a basic thrift store where clothing, household goods and appliances can be purchased at discounted rates.
The community has also been very generous to the Outreach Center in years past, making the purchase of a new roof for the facility possible last year, but Fenderbosch reported that community donations have been waning as of late, in large part, due to the state of the local economy.
The largest and most regular donor to the Outreach Center has been Billy Two Shoes — a regional band that provides all of its proceeds from music sales and concerts to regional food pantries.
Fenderbosch is hopeful, however, that as word spreads of their current crisis, the community will come forward to provide as it has in years past.
“We need help — community help,” she said. “In order for us to be able to help the people in Gallipolis and Gallia County, we have to get help from the community.”
To make a monetary or food donation to the Outreach Center food pantry, contact Gary or Sherrie Fenderbosch, Outreach Center board members, at (740) 446-8657.
Donations can also be dropped off at the Outreach Center located at 275 State Street, Gallipolis. Normal business hours are from 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Monday through Saturday. However, during the days of extreme heat, hours of operation are from 8 a.m.-2 p.m. The center can be reached at (740) 446-7555. Arrangements can be made for those wishing to donate after hours.