GREENVILLE - Food pantries are experiencing an increase in numbers, though it’s hard to say whether that’s because of the holiday season or the end of the month, directors commented. Both the Castine Area Food Bank and the FISH Choice Pantry gave out turkeys for the Thanksgiving meal, they said, but FISH was only able to do that because of a generous donation of 80 turkeys, which they received last week, said Kristy Cutarelli, director of the FISH Choice Pantry.
Grace Resurrection Community Center (GRCC) did not have turkeys available, but the new executive director, Sharon Fellers, who took over in August, when Peggy Follrod stepped down, said that she’d like to try to provide a Thanksgiving meal for families in need next year.
“That’s something I want to explore for next year; do we help people with Thanksgiving meals, and how do we do that?” Fellers said. “We won’t have any special Christmas dinners or anything; just standard food items again.”
Considering the current shortage of foods at local pantries, despite the donations being made by area organizations including high school clubs, churches, and service organizations such as Kiwanis, it’s no wonder that pantries are not providing a holiday meal for families, when they’re struggling to provide emergency meals, said Cutarelli.
“We don’t go out and purchase that kind of thing, because we need to keep the tables stocked at the food pantry; that’s a splurge,” said Cutarelli. “If someone donates those types of things, we’d love to do that, but we can’t, in good conscience, spend the money on a ham that could buy a lot of other things.”
Cutarelli also commented that the FISH pantry has been purchasing items to stock their shelves, despite the donations they are receiving from community organizations and businesses.
“We are very thankful for any donations, as always. People can donate all year long to the food pantry,” said Cutarelli. “A lot of the different groups, organizations and businesses in Darke County have had food drives, and those are always great…We’re very grateful for all the donations we’ve received; without the generosity of the community, FISH wouldn’t even exist, because it’s all donations, all servants who volunteer their time, and there is no paid staff.”
Some of the items that food pantries are looking for include peanut butter and jelly, canned fruits, canned tuna, canned vegetables, egg noodles, broth, pasta noodles and sauce, and paper goods such as toilet paper and cleaning supplies, Cutarelli stated.
Another option for those in need this holiday season is the Castine Area Food Bank, which provided Thanksgiving meals to 130 families in southern Darke County, stated Diana McDonald, co-director of the pantry. They also provide meals at Christmas, she said, and a lot of times end up doing more than that, even. Families can receive assistance three times per year, as the Castine Area Food Bank is an emergency pantry, supplying food to families in need, when they are in need, McDonald said.
“We just help people who need it,” stated McDonald. “Kind of like FISH and the rest of them…Our donations seem to be pretty good. For the economy, they’re really good. Food donations in general are always appreciated, though.”
To contact the FISH Choice Pantry, located at 400 Markwith Ave. in Greenville, call 937-548-2000. To contact the GRCC, located at 433 W. Water St. in Greenville, call 937-548-2595. To contact the Castine Area Food Bank, which operates out of the Castine Church of the Brethren but is actually a collaboration of many area churches, contact McDonald at 937-996-8763.