2012-05-12 / News

Buckeye Lake food pantry moves into old library

By Scott Rawdon

Melissa Castle checks out the stocked shelves at the new Buckeye Lake Food Pantry. Beacon photo by Scott Rawdon. Melissa Castle checks out the stocked shelves at the new Buckeye Lake Food Pantry. Beacon photo by Scott Rawdon. BUCKEYE LAKE – The grand opening isn’t until Monday, May 14, but the new Buckeye Lake Food Pantry opened its doors Tuesday morning.

“All that hard work pays off,” said Melissa Castle, a LEADS client service specialist who operates the food pantry, which is located in the former Buckeye Lake Library building on West 1st Street.

Castle said the first visitors were amazed at the number of items in the food pantry and that they had such a wide variety of choices. “They really enjoyed having a choice. It was great,” she said. Castle said everyone qualifies to use the food pantry; it is not an income-based service. However, each person or family is allowed 12 visits per year, which are usually taken on a monthly basis. Visitors are required to bring a proof of address (a utility bill will do), Social Security card, photo ID, and some sort of ID (birth certificate, medical card, etc.) for each family member. Also, visitors need to fill out a Community Services Block Grant, or CSBG form.

Castle said Buckeye Lake Food Pantry volunteers help visitors choose items according to a sheet that specifies how many of each item a single person through a family of 10 is allowed to take at each visit, such as four cans of fruit, or four meat items, etc., based on the number of family members.

Castle said in 2011 Buckeye Lake LEADS distributed 91,000 pounds of food to roughly 1,400 households, which roughly translates to 3,700 individuals who prepared 33,400 meals. “That’s a lot,” she said.

Castle said the pantry acquires food items through donations from Kroger, the Food Pantry Network, Pizza Hut, and private donors. She said there are “emergency bags” of food set aside for those who need more than what the food pantry has to offer on a monthly basis. The number of food items allotted for month is designed to supply a family with five days of food.

The Buckeye Lake Food Pantry is open Tuesdays and Thursdays, 8 to 11 a.m. Castle hopes to offer more hours of operation if more people volunteer to help. She also offers utility assistance Tuesday through Thursday 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

The Buckeye Lake Food Pantry’s grand opening and ribbon cutting is Monday, May 14, at noon. “We’re pretty proud of (the Buckeye Lake Food Pantry),” said Castle. “It turned out great.”

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