A much-needed helping hand: But more clients at food pantries mean more donations are needed


GALION — With more people out of work due to Ohio’s stay at home order, there is an increased need at local food pantries, both for donations and distributions.

Tammy Crabtree, director for Ohio Heartland Community Action of Crawford County’s Galion location, said they are keeping their same hours for now, but are keeping the doors locked.

Located at 124 Buehler St., food distribution is currently Monday through Friday from 8 -9:30 a.m. Crabtree said those seeking assistance should come to the door and knock and someone will come to the door and ask what their needs are.

“The food order will be taken and the bags of food will be placed outside the door,” she said. “This is so we don’t have contact with anyone. And if people can’t make it at that time — if they need outside those hours — they can call the office and we can schedule something.

“Of course, our pantry is getting low,” she noted. “We are accepting donations from 9 a.m. until noon on Monday and Wednesday and people can leave those at the door to avoid any contact.”

Crabtree has seen a little bit of an increase of those seeking assistance over the last week or so, as well as people who have never utilized the food pantry before.

She did note the food pantry is typically for Galion residents only.

Besides the food pantry, Crabtree said the organization also offers HEAP assistance and utility payment assistance.

“We’re not doing face-to-face interviews, but people can use the drop box for paperwork,” she said. “We’re just gathering information in a different way right now. People can still make appointments, but we will do those over the phone.

“We’re going to try and stay open to help our clients, but still take precautions to make it safe,” Crabtree noted.

For more information, call 419-468-5121 or email tammyc@ohcac.org.

Brittany Baker, office manager at St. Joseph Catholic Church, 135 North Liberty Street, explained their food pantry is run by volunteers.

“We do it by appointment,” Baker said. “When someone calls in with a need, we give their name and phone number to a volunteer and the volunteer gets a hold of them and meets them at the church for distribution.”

” To receive assistance, call the church at 419-468-2884, extension 1.

St. Paul United Methodist Church, 746 Cherry St, Galion has a food pantry on the third Saturday of every month.

Mary Carney, secretary at the church, said there were slight changes during distribution this past weekend.

“People usually come in all at the same time, but what we did Saturday was set up five chairs to have social distancing and that kind of stuff, and when they were finished (with their order), they went back out to their cars to wait for their food. Then we put it in their car and off they went,” she said.

Clients fill out a reference list and can pick one or two items per food category, depending on the size of the family.

Carney said they had about 70 orders Saturday.

Jim Myers, who oversees the food pantry, said the changes worked well.

“It went really smooth,” he said. “I was really surprised it went as well as it did. We had a lot of first-timers, too. A lot of our regulars weren’t there. I think because they are older clients and I think they were just afraid to come out, not knowing how we were going to handle it. About 50 to 60 percent of our clients are senior citizens.”

Myers said they served a total of 207 people Saturday.

“We get grants from Second Harvest and our congregation is very giving as far as supporting the food pantry also,” he said.

Carney believes that during this crisis, more people will utilize the food pantry at the church, and others

“Last week, every single day, I had no less than five calls about the food pantry,” she said. “On Saturday we had a few more people show up. We usually have around 60. Some of our regulars didn’t show up, but we had some new people.”

The food pantry is held the third Saturday of each month from 9-11 a..m. St. Paul United Methodist Church also is having community meal on Wednesday, March 25, starting at 4:30 p.m.

“But it’s going to be takeout,” Carney said. “People just come, they don’t have to call ahead.”

For more information, call St. Paul UMC at 419-468-4557.

Cooperative Christian Services of Galion at the First Presbyterian Church, 240 South Market Street, also offers assistance at its food pantry from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. People need to bring ID, proof of income and any other information pertaining to the services they need. People should use the backdoor to the basement on the specified days and times. Call 419-462-9305 for information.

Courtesy photo
After collecting an order for a client Saturday at the food pantry at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Galion, Jim and Vicki Myers are ready to deliver the goods to the client, who is waiting in the car.
https://www.galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2020/03/web1_Jim-and-Vicki-Myers.jpgCourtesy photo
After collecting an order for a client Saturday at the food pantry at St. Paul United Methodist Church in Galion, Jim and Vicki Myers are ready to deliver the goods to the client, who is waiting in the car.

Courtesy photo
These are some of the items available on the third Saturday of each month at the food pantry operated by Galion St. Paul United Methodist Church.
https://www.galioninquirer.com/wp-content/uploads/sites/38/2020/03/web1_thumbnail_IMG_0211.jpgCourtesy photo
These are some of the items available on the third Saturday of each month at the food pantry operated by Galion St. Paul United Methodist Church.
More clients at food pantries mean will require additional donations

 

By Jodi Myers

Galion Inquirer