Outreach & Mission Work

Ashville Food Pantry

by Jane Lynch

The Ashville Food Pantry is a nonprofit organization that strives to follow God's Word, "There will always be some who are poor and in need, and so I command you to be generous to them." (Deuteronomy 15:11)

We are a faith based ministry sponsored by the Ashville Area Ministerial Association. We depend solely on the generosity of those in and around our community. Though called the Ashville Pantry, we actually serve all of Teays Valley Local School District which encompasses 175 square miles and parts of three counties. Our Governing Board is comprised of one representative (apppointed by each individual's church). Each rep and their corresponding pastor have a vote on the board.

I began volunteering at the pantry several years ago and was officially appointed to the governing board by Rev. Muller when Hopewell UMC joined the pantry in 2004 or 2005. I serve as Secretary on the Board and Coordinator of the pantry. Our regular food distributions are the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, from 2-4 p.m. from January through October. In November and December we have special holiday distributions. Though we are open twice a month, the families are permitted assistance once a month. Emergency situations are met.

Each church takes turns distributing the food a month at a time. Hopewell served the month of July in 2013. It takes at least six volunteers to staff the facility during the distributions. In July we served 88 families, which included 199 adults and 64 children. The largest age group we serve is over the age of 50 which is surprising to many. The cost for the month of July (just in food) was a little over $2,523.00. (We purchase what is needed above what's donated) From February 2013 to June 2013, we gave out over $15,000 in food.

We also help the needy with rent, utilities and medical prescriptions when the funds are available. These payments are made directly to the companies with no money ever going directly to our client (under no circumstances!!)

My duties include attending and taking minutes of the regular meetings in February, July and October. I also assist with most distributions, shop for needed food items and assist in food drives, etc. and handle correspondence.

Each client receives the same items generally speaking and can request specific items if in stock. The bags are prepared prior to distribution. It is a big job!! We stock family size bags, single person bags, extra bags for extra large families, and school age bags.

We are very grateful to be able to add the school age bags, especially during summer months. Many of these children qualify for reduced or free school lunches. We try to fill this void in the summer and hope we can continue even after school begins in the fall. This would help on weekends when again they are not getting school lunches. These special bags contain canned pastas, crackers, jello or pudding, soups, popcorn, etc., items that can be prepared easily.

You may be interested to know what other churches are members of our board: St. Paul Lutheran, Zion United Methodist, First Baptist Church, First English Lutheran, South Bloomfield United Methodist, Hedges Chapel Church of Christ in Christian Union, Village Chapel United Methodist and Hopewell United Methodist. I am very blessed to be a part of this general ministry and to represent Hopewwell on the governing board.