ASHTON — Following the announcement of Nucor Corporation coming to Mason County, the company made a stop at Crosslight of Hope Pantry on Wednesday to made a surprise donation.
Nucor representatives met with Crosslight of Hope Coordinator Teresa Wilson.
Wilson runs one of the five main food pantries in Mason County. Crosslight of Hope hosts a food box distribution once a month, serving about 130 families, Wilson said.
Prior to the donation, Wilson said the pantry is supported by about six churches, who donate various amounts from $50 to $300 each month. On top of food supplies, Wilson said the pantry has around $500 a month in overhead costs.
“Some folks come to the door, so it’s always a blessing to be able to get any amount of money,” Wilson said.
John Musgrave, executive director Mason County Economic Development Authority, spoke briefly on Nucor and the things the company are bringing to the community before introducing John Farris, vice president and general manager, who will head up the Apple Grove facility.
Farris then presented Wilson with a check for the Mason County Area Foods in the amount of $100,000 to be split among the five food pantries in the county.
“We have plenty of good uses for that here in our community, in this county,” Wilson said. “This is amazing. That is an astronomical blessing, I can’t even express to you how important this is and how exciting. Thank you.”
Wilson shared a bit about the work at Crosslight.
“We are always in the need of food donations and volunteers to help,” Wilson said. “I’m the only employee here. It’s me, my husband takes off work and my 19-year-old son helps. So, we can always use hands but we can always use dollars. There’s always a need here in the community for food and this is really, really going to make an impact.”
Farris told Wilson she would gain some volunteers with the steel sheet-mill plant opening. Something Wilson said was the best news as they pre-pack and hand out 130 boxes a month.
Wilson shared the importance of the pantry to those in the community.
“I’ve used the word family so often because that’s how it is in this community,” Wilson said. “I have people who stop out here to say, ‘I just want to see if you’re home,’ or I have some little kids when they used to be able to come in and they would say, ‘you mind if I go into your room, can I watch your TV’ or they would just hang out like this was home.”
New freezers, refrigerators, additional shelving, boxes, extra food etc. are just some of the things that Wilson said the pantries would be able to do with the money.
A donation of this size was one Wilson never expected.
“Never on this scale or level,” Wilson said. “We’re always, we’re blown away with any amount of donation. We’re always so excited and so grateful for that. Every dollar, every dime makes a difference.”
Wilson said helping the community across the county is why the food pantries are here.
“All of the food pantries are here to serve the community and we do it with our hearts,” Wilson said. “It’s really important for us to offer everything we can, we want to help in every way. We don’t do these jobs for the money, we do it for the community and for the love of our fellow man and people in need.
She said those who need the pantries should absolutely come out.
“I know a lot of people can be sometimes hesitant to come to the food bank and they feel it’s for a certain type of person,” Wilson said. “And in it, they’re not as needy or they don’t deserve it. But we’re here to help everybody in Mason County in need.
“Sometimes it’s a little short this month and that’s okay,” Wilson said. “And for some people, it’s I really just can’t seem to make ends meet with my job. Families like senior citizens that are raising grandchildren… They’ve been on a fixed income and all of a sudden they have to rearrange their whole lives.”
Wilson said she will most likely send her fellow food bank partners a picture because she did not think they would believe it.
“They’re going to be moved and touched by this because it means so much,” Wilson said.
Wilson said the availability of new career opportunities and the partnership with Nucor are also huge blessing for the pantry and many of its clients.
Crosslight of Hope Food Pantry is held the third Wednesday of each month from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., unless scheduling is an issue. The pantry does do a “means” test to see if a household qualifies based on size and income. Those receiving SNAP benefits, automatically qualify, Wilson said.
Information can be found on their Facebook page. Those wishing to volunteer can contact Wilson through the pantry’s Facebook page or call 304-576-2971.
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Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.