POINT PLEASANT — The Mason County Commission welcomed representatives from the county food pantries to its recent commission meeting, awarding the organizations each $2,500.
Commissioners Rick Handley, Tracy Doolittle and Sam Nibert, president, were in attendance.
Mason County has three food pantries that service the area — Bend Area Food Pantry, Crosslight of Hope and Kitchen of Blessing Food Pantry.
Vicky Nazarewycz, director of Bend Area Food Pantry, reported the pantry has approximately 150-175 clients registered and services from Lakin to the Jackson County line.
“This past month we gave out 93 [boxes], which is low numbers,” Nazarewycz said. “Since COVID hit, our numbers have been a little bit lower.”
All three pantries reported lowers numbers since COVID but expect the numbers to go back up as the holidays approach.
The Bend Area pantry gives out boxes with items like fresh fruit, vegetables, meats and bakery goods every Monday. It also offers emergency boxes when needed.
The pantry’s facility is sponsored by Northbend Church, leaving the pantry’s only responsible for electricity.
Nazarewycz said Jacob’s Well in New Haven helps the area with non-food essential items such as personal hygiene and cleaning products.
The pantry has 15-25 volunteers, Nazarewycz said and also have support from local churches.
“We are very, very blessed to have the help that we have, we love what we do,” Nazarewycz said. “We love being able to serve the community. We have gotten a really good relationship with a lot of our clients, it works really well.”
Nazarewycz said their clients are always appreciative, with some donating time and/or money when they are able.
The Kitchen of Blessing Food Pantry is located in Henderson and services Leon to Gallipolis Ferry and even a family or two from Gallipolis, Ohio.
The pantry recently received its 501-C and has three grant applications out.
The pantry offers food boxes the third Monday of each month and emergency boxes when needed.
Emergency boxes are offered when needed without question, said Diana Chambers, director.
The pantry is currently in search of a new building.
“The Lord’s blessing us anyway,” Chambers said. “As far as supporters, we don’t have a whole lot.”
The pantry sells lunches to support the pantry’s necessities.
Commissioner Doolittle offered some advice on gaining more local supporters for the pantry, including reaching out to local businesses and churches.
Crosslight of Hope services the rest of the county from Gallipolis Ferry to Glenwood.
Director Teresa Wilson said the pantry is supported by several local churches. She also said currently they do not have any volunteers.
Wilson said the pantry was originally a clothing pantry, but the clothing aspect had to be closed to the public due to the inability to keep COVID-19 regulations. She said they are still open as needed to those who have immediate need.
“We do remain open as sort of a crisis center, a touch point for folks’ unpleasant situations,” Wilson said. “If they need some clothing, they need of course food, always. We help with fires, we’ve had several fires in the community.”
Crosslight of Hope does a food drive on the third Wednesday of each month, servicing 120 to 150-plus people.
“God always provides regardless,” Wilson said. “We may not have the biggest boxes, but we have the most appreciative comments, I cry all they time… it does touch my heart so much.”
Crosslight also does a Christmas gift program, that Wilson says is “a big program in our area.”
She said things as small as blankets make a huge difference. She said they try to ask parents what their child is interested in.
“There were so many teen children who are able to tell the parents a warm blanket,” Wilson said. “So we got together again and had a blessing. We just had a large donation and so we went out and bought each family a blanket for each of the children.”
Wilson said there are many times when the pantry gets requests for sheets, pillows or other basic needs.
All three pantries said they work with the Facing Hunger Food Bank in Huntingon.
“Very good stuff,” Nibert said. “We really appreciate it. I think we [commission] need to help these folks.”
Nibert then motioned giving each of the pantries $2,500, all commissioners were in favor.
In other commission news, John Gerlach, administrator, said the animal shelter is having trouble with reliable internet service, there was a short discussion on possible solutions.
The redistricting plans from state legislators were briefly discussed.
“As county clerks, we’re asking that they maintain our numbers as much as possible,” Diana Cromley, county clerk said. “Which they may look at that, they may not.”
The commission noted the achievement of Brennan Sang, Point Pleasant Junior/Senior High School, as an all-state golfer
The following commission meetings were also set: Nov. 4 and 8 and Oct. 9 and 30 at 4 p.m.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer with Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @bhively1. Reach her at (740) 446-4303 ext 2555.