(Posted Jan. 23, 2023)
By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor
Madison County Food Pantry began serving customers at its new location on Jan. 3.
Previously located at 137 S. Maple St., London, the all-volunteer operation moved into the former NAPA Auto Parts store at 125 S. Oak St., London.
“We simply ran out of space at our Maple Street location,” said John Mitchell, board member. “There has been so much increase in demand. It’s up 25 percent over the last year, and that’s due to inflation and just what is going on in the country right now.”
The pantry provides meat, fish, bakery items, deli items, fresh produce, and non-perishable goods to approximately 310 families per month.
The previous location served the organization well for many years, Mitchell said, however, due to space limitations, customers often had to wait outside. The new space is nearly twice the size of the old with no need for customers to wait outside. Good lighting, temperature control for storage and service areas, and plenty of parking are among the new location’s attributes.
“It works like a dream. It makes an enormous difference,” Mitchell said. “The response has been tremendous. People walk in and go, ‘Wow!,” which is what we did, too. It’s so much more open.”
The pantry was founded in 1981 by eight area churches. Now, 10 churches are involved: Trinity Episcopal Church, St. Patrick Catholic Church, Newport Church of Christ in Christian Union, Church of Christ of Latter Day Saints, First United Methodist Church of London, St. Paul AME, United Methodist Church of Newport, Lafayette United Methodist Church, London Church of the Nazarene, and Trinity United Methodist Church.
Funding for the pantry comes from donations from churches, businesses, non-profit organizations, and individuals. All proceeds go to providing no-cost food to people in need.
The pantry is staffed entirely by volunteers. There are no paid employees.
“We are very, very blessed with the number of volunteers we have. We have people who have been involved for years and years and years,” Mitchell said.
Pantry hours are 9-11:45 a.m. on Wednesdays and Saturdays. No appointments are required. Customers must be Madison County residents and meet income eligibility requirements. First-time customers must bring proof of address with them and are asked about their income.
Customers receive a basic allotment of food once a month (twice a month in emergency situations) to supplement their household food budget.
Anyone can drop off monetary donations or food donations during pantry hours. Monetary donations go a long way, Mitchell said, thanks to the pantry’s partnership with Mid Ohio Food Collective which sells food to the pantry at a discount. Monetary donations also can be mailed to: Madison County Food Pantry, 125 S. Oak St., London OH 43140. The pantry is a 501(c)3 operation, so donations are tax-deductible.
Mitchell noted that Kroger and Walmart donate a generous amount of food to the pantry on a regular basis.
The pantry’s board of directors includes: Jim Witwer, chairman; Jim Pozy, pantry manager; Joretta Hunter, vice chair; Connie Tostivin, secretary; Wanda Swyers, treasurer; and Babs Amling and John Mitchell, board members.
For more information, call (740) 852-5822.