MOUNT GILEAD — Ninety-one Morrow County families received hams for a Christmas meal this December along with a bag of groceries from the Morrow County Food Pantry.
Morrow County Food Pantry Director, Brenda Harden said that donations from several community groups and individuals made it possible to purchase 155 hams at a reduced price from the Mount Gilead Kroger store. She added that they were really good quality hams.
Kroger’s meat department staff also helped with the distribution of the hams as food pantry recipients brought in their vouchers for a ham. There are 64 hams remaining that will be distributed to families in January.
Food Pantry Director Teresa Shipman also thanked Hoffman Meats in Cardington for their donation of venison to the food pantry this fall. She said that both Kroger and Hoffman’s have been very supportive of the County Food Pantry.
Shipman said that Kroger customers can “round up” several cents when they pay for their own groceries. All the money from those round ups at the Mount Gilead Kroger store goes to the six food pantries in the county. Last year the amount of round-ups totaled about $10,000.
Some of the other groceries mentioned that are provided at the pantry on a regular basis are: canned chicken, tuna, spaghetti, macaroni and cheese, peanut butter, jelly, tomato juice, canned and dried milk, cereal and eggs.
Fresh produce is kept in the refrigerator at the pantry. Harden said that Jean Smith from the Cardington Food Pantry brings the produce from the Mid-Ohio Food Bank in Columbus.
“The six food pantries in the county all cooperate in sharing when we can,” said Harden.
Harden said they also have been having several senior citizens stopping by for help at the pantry this year. She said they often aren’t on Medicaid or other assistance, but find it difficult to manage on a fixed retirement income.
The Morrow County Food Pantry and Cardington Community Food Pantry are United Way Agencies. United Way Director, Jodi Hayes said that it is amazing how many families and people the pantries serve. Hayes said that the Cardington pantry received and passed out 95,027 pounds of produce in 2017. They passed out a total of 229,483 total pounds of food in 2017.
Hayes said that the Morrow County Food Pantry tracked the number of people and families they served in 2017. They provided food for an average of 167 families per month and that represents 400 to 500 people every month.
There is also information at the food pantry that can assist families in need. They have applications for assistance at Job and Family Services (JFS,) HEAP applications for help with utilities and job listings.
Harden said that she and fellow directors, Russ Merrin and Teresa Shipman volunteer their time to coordinate hours and activities at the Morrow County Food Pantry.
The hours at the Morrow County Food Pantry are 9 a.m. to noon on Monday and Thursday. However, they can also give food in an emergency when people come to the JFS office. The pantry is at Entrance C at the Morrow County Community Services building at 619 W. Marion Road in Mount Gilead.