Food pantry seeks more donations


By Christine Bryant
Staff Writer

Food pantry officials are gearing up for the winter season as they prepare to help hundreds of Reynoldsburg families.

During September, the Helping Hands Food Pantry provided more than 7,000 meals to Reynoldsburg residents, and director Janet Munjas says she doesn’t see the need slowing down.

“This week alone we have 13 families coming during a 2-hour period,” she said.

While donations typically increase during the holidays, in January, they fall off dramatically – putting pantries in a bind as they continue to serve families.

The HEART Food Pantry, which serves the greater Reynoldsburg area, reports that more than 50,000 people live within the organization’s service area. Of that number, 15,000 to 20,000 live within the federal poverty level. Many are children, with 50 percent of the Reynoldsburg School District eligible for free and reduced lunch, according to the organization.

To help children in the district, the agencies are partnering to send bags of food home from school with children to ensure they are nourished.

“There are children who don’t eat much on the weekends,” Munjas said.

Though the program is in its infancy, Munjas said they hope to have a better idea of how they can best serve the students over the next few months.

In the meantime, the Helping Hands Food Pantry is in need of donations, which all stay within the city limits. These include canned soups and chili, canned fruits and vegetables, cereal and tuna.

With Thanksgiving approaching, the food pantry also needs side dishes such as stuffing, gravy and instant potatoes.

“I want people to say this is a place I can go,” Munjas said. “We feed families, and that’s what we do best.”

Because the pantry is about to start using a new tracking system from the Mid-Ohio Foodbank, it also needs a computer, printer and wifi, as well as volunteers.

To donate or for more information about the Helping Hands Food Pantry, call (614) 868-9394.

Harvest Meal

HEART Food Pantry and Messiah Lutheran Church will hold its third annual Harvest Meal Nov. 8.
The event, held at the church, 1200 S. Waggoner Road, Reynoldsburg, will include a Thanksgiving style dinner with trimmings and dessert, a “Giving Thanks – Harvest Festival” concert, celebrity pie auction, door prizes and silent auction.

The show will begin at 3 p.m., followed by the meal from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. Carry out is also available.

Tickets are $9 for adults, $5 for children 5 to 12, and free for children 4 and younger. All proceeds will benefit the HEART Food Pantry. Tickets are available at the door.
For more information, go to

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