(Posted Nov. 30, 2016)
By Sandi Latimer, Staff Writer
Nine-year-old Reese Echenrode tucked a $20 bill under her chin so she could straighten other bills. She counted out nine more dollars.
Meanwhile, her 10-year-old brother, Xavier, got his $20 from his parents.
The $49 represented what the siblings had saved out of their allowance to donate to the Good Samaritan Food Pantry in West Jefferson. They earn their allowance by doing small jobs around their home.
“Feed the cats, take out the trash, and do dishes,” said Xavier, a fourth-grade student at Norwood Elementary.
Reese and Xavier routinely put aside part of their allowance for purposes of their own choosing. Their parents, Allison and Joe Echenrode, talk with them about what they can do with their money.
“They’re taught to save, spend and give,” said their father, Joe.
For the past two years, the duo has chosen to give to the food pantry. This year, they presented their donation on Nov. 22, the day the pantry distributed Thanksgiving food boxes to approximately 150 families. In addition to making the donation, they assisted with the food distribution that day.
“We just like to help others,” said Reese, a third-grader at Norwood.
According to Susan Maggard, food pantry director, the donation will go a long way toward obtaining food for those in need in West Jefferson.
“Eight cents buys a pound of food through the Mid-Ohio Food Bank in Grove City,” said Maggard, who also serves on the Mid-Ohio Food Bank board.
The Good Samaritan Food Pantry receives donations from individuals, civic organization and businesses throughout the year. This holiday season, large West Jefferson employers donated boxes of food, as well as items that food stamp recipients cannot purchase, such as toiletries and personal hygiene products.
Just as the Echenrodes did, those businesses volunteered their time, too. For example, for this year’s Thanksgiving outreach, Duke Realty employees helped to haul in bags of onions and potatoes and put food items in boxes.
Through the year, the pantry serves 50 to 60 families a week, but the number of families with food insecurity always grows near the holidays, Maggard said.
The Good Samaritan Food Pantry is housed at West Jefferson United Methodist Church, 36 S. Center St. Hours are Hours are 2-3 p.m. Wednesdays and 10-11 a.m. Saturdays. For more information, to volunteer, or to donate food or money, call (614) 879-8130.