By Amanda Amsel
A local church and Franklin Township are joining forces to help area residents in need.
The township is partnering with Central Baptist Church to provide township residents with much-needed groceries.
“The Central Baptist Church, led by Pastor Tim Womack, has been partnering with the Mid-Ohio Foodbank to give away produce and other food items to township residents,” said John Fleshman, Franklin Township trustee. “The township has now joined in this effort by having our officers and firefighters help out during donation days.”
Taking place at least one Saturday every month, approximately 170 people from throughout the township and nearby Franklin County communities come and get free produce and meals for their families. A few of the items that are typically given away include fresh vegetables, fruit, bread, tea and snack packs for children.
According to Fleshman, township firefighters and police officers who are already on duty have been stopping by during the food donation events to help facilitate the distribution of groceries.
“They also are providing wellness checkups while they are there,” he said. “A lot of people who visit this event may not be able to afford to go regularly go to the doctor or they may not have health insurance. In an effort to keep people healthy, our paramedics are offering to test resident’s vitals while they wait for food.”
Fleshman said that while the medics are not doctors and anyone who is worried about their health should go to their doctor, the medics can let people know if their vitals are off and if they should visit a doctor right away.
“Many times people have shortness of breath and don’t visit the doctor and end up having a heart attack,” Fleshman said. “If we can provide this service at no additional cost to taxpayers, I think it is worth it.”
If the police or fire department gets a dispatch run while they are at the food donation event they would leave and return after their duties are complete, Fleshman said.
The trustees also believe having a presence at these events helps the township’s fire responders get to know the community better.
“A lot of times our community members only meet these individuals during emergency situations,” Fleshman said. “Giving residents an opportunity to meet them in a positive setting is a great way for them to see their tax dollars at work.”
The township’s involvement in this event is an ongoing collaboration with Pastor Womack. Womack also was named the new chaplin for the Franklin Township Police Department in late 2015 and is providing services to the township at no additional cost.
“Anytime I can serve the residents of this township and be a shoulder for them to lean on it is a true pleasure,” Womack said. “I’m excited to look into other ways I can continue to get involved in the township.”
The trustees are also looking into ways they can become more active in the community to educate residents on the services they offer.
“This is about giving back, which is a township focus in 2016,” Fleshman said. “Being a part of this food giveaway is a perfect way to educate people about the services currently being offering in the township, while also helping residents and not spending additional tax dollars.”
If you are interested in volunteering for the Central Baptist Foodbank or are in need of the items they are donating, contact Womack at 614-279-3115.