MASON — Operations at the Bend Area Food Pantry in Mason will soon get a lot cooler after receiving a grant from the Robert and Louise Claflin Foundation.
Foundation Secretary Gary Fields recently presented pantry volunteers with a $15,000 grant that will provide both a walk-in freezer and a walk-in refrigerator.
According to the pantry’s director, Vicky Nazarewycz, the pantry presently serves it’s 130 clients monthly from three industrial refrigerators and six individual freezers. The appliances line the walls of the building’s interior.
The new walk-ins will be located behind the pantry building, but will only be accessible from doors inside. They will open up the pantry walls, allowing for more storage.
“In addition, the walk-ins will not only conserve electricity,” said Nazarewycz, “but will give ease and comfort for the volunteers, who will not have to bend over at a (chest) freezer to lift out 30 or 40 pounds of meat.”
She added this is not the first time the Claflin Foundation has helped the pantry. Moving to the present building in 2016, a grant of nearly $7,000 was received that autumn to pay for finishes to the new structure, including the ceiling, insulation, and wall boards.
In making the check presentation, Fields said the grant met a number of criteria set up by the Claflin couple, including health and well being of people, as well as serving children.
The Bend Area Food Pantry serves people from Lakin to the Mason County line above Letart. Monthly distributions are given out on the third Tuesday of each month. A weekly distribution is given on Mondays from food donated by Walmart in Mason.
Other Claflin grants distributed recently in the Bend Area include ones to the New Haven and Mason fire departments, Jacob’s Well, Wahama Science Professional Learning Community (PLC), Wahama Bike Ride/Race, and Bend Area CARE for children’s activities at the annual catfish tournament. Stephen Littlepage serves as president of the Claflin Foundation.
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Mindy Kearns is a freelance writer for Ohio Valley Publishing, email her at [email protected]