MOUNT GILEAD — Cardington Community Food Pantry treasurer and volunteer Cheryl Burket said the $10,000 grant given by Kroger last week will purchase many meals for the families they serve.
Burket said they applied for a grant from Kroger online and after filling out the paperwork, received news that they were chosen to receive $10,000 two weeks later. Burket and CCFP President, John Lawyer thanked Kroger for their donation which can be used as cash at any grocery and also at the Mid-Ohio Food Bank.
“The Cardington Food Pantry is such a blessing,” Burket said. “Both for the volunteers and for the families we serve. We love the families who come here.”
Burket said she began volunteering right after she retired from Toledo Scale where she had worked for 28 years. There are 75 volunteers who work regularly at the four Wednesday pantry days each month. There are also many groups such as the boy scouts, girl scouts, 4-H clubs and FFA that help occasionally.
John Lawyer who is President of CCFP said the pantry is a “retirement project” for him and lots of the other volunteers. He and Vice President Paul Cole are some of the “regulars” who volunteer every week.
The Cardington Food Pantry was started in 2010 by Jean Smith, Betty Wilson and Kyle Finical. The first year an average of 20 families were served every month. In 2018 there were 381 families each month. 4,579 households and 12,963 individuals were served in 2018.
The equivalent of 173,790 meals was served last year at the cost of 10 cents each meal. With 5,000 volunteer hours, there was a labor cost of $117,000 at the government rate of $23.40 per hour.
Kroger store leader/manager Jeff Minner said that this one of the big projects Kroger has in giving to food pantries.
“Kroger does a lot with our round-up and food pantries at many store locations,” Minner said. “We are glad to help the community this way.”
Minner who has been with Kroger Company since 1974, said he feels like he is coming home at the Mount Gilead store. He worked as co-manager in Mount Gilead in 1988 when the store opened and came back as manager first in 1996 and again this year.
Families and individuals who visit the Cardington Food Pantry are surveyed regularly. Burket said that people comment that they feel loved and cared for by CCFP volunteers. Most families visit the pantry for 2-3 months.
They go primarily because they have lost a job or have major bills. There are also a few elderly who are regular visitors to the pantry.
Food pantry hours are: first, second, third and fourth Wednesdays every month from 9 a.m.-noon at Cardington First United Methodist Church, 300 S. Marion St. The second Tuesday of the month fresh produce and baked goods are given out from 2-4 p.m. at the American Legion Hall.
For information visit www.cardingtonfoodpantry.org.