By Sandi Latimer
A pantry on the westside that provides food and other services to military personnel, their families and survivors is trying to continue its work while looking for a new base of operations.
The MASH Pantry – which stands for Military And Service Heroes – operates out of a building at 1205 W. Broad St., but began looking for a new location when Veterans First sold the building.
Although a church in Grove City has spoken for the group, “We want to stay on the westside for consistency for the vets,” said MASH President Amber Hudson, without identifying the church.
She’d also like to have the new location on the bus line since many veterans lack transportation.
Several companies have pitched in on food drives and donated the collected items to MASH, which has food and other services available for the veterans and their families.
“They’re a proud group and don’t often ask for things,” Hudson said. “No vet should go hungry,” and speaking of the active military on duty halfway around the world, “they don’t want to worry about their families going hungry.”
She had worked for three and on half years developing such a center before opening this past May.
“It’s been a blessing” she said.
Now she’s pleading with the community to help her find a new location. And it’s not just for a food pantry. She hosts a lot of other services, and some of it is on the road.
Once a month she has organized a mobile mission into neighboring Pickaway County where she has been joined by such groups as the American Red Cross, Job and Family Services, Veterans Services Office and mental health agencies to provide military-oriented aid.
She’s now working to develop such a mobile service to head into Delaware County to help veterans in the Sunbury area.
Recently she hosted a Thanksgiving dinner with all the trimmings in Whitehall for veterans and will put another on Dec. 11 at the Whitehall Veterans of Foreign Wars facility from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m. In order to put on a dinner for as many as 200, she is asking the community to become involved by helping provide the food, potluck style.
“If we don’t get enough food, we’ll order pizza,” she said.
And at the other end, if there is an abundance of food, then the leftovers will go to the veterans, or even the fire department.
Anyone wishing to help Hudson in her projects is encouraged to call her at 390-5722.