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Chesapeake pantry assists needy

CHESAPEAKE — If it’s the middle of the month at the Chesapeake Community Center it means the food truck from Logan will be pulling up in the driveway soon.

With it will come a fresh shipment of canned and frozen food items that will help out many in the area who are struggling to make ends meet.

Greeting the truck and helping to unload it will be Don and Alice Moore, who are in charge of the organizing the pantry.

Three times a week — Monday, Thursday and Saturday — the food pantry at the center allows families to stretch their food budget by supplementing their own pantries with items from the center.

That food truck is a welcome sight for so many who come on a monthly basis to the pantry.

“Most of our customers are repeat customers,” Ruth Damron, executive director of the center, said.

All that is required to participate is a current utility bill to show proof of residency. Both seniors and those with young families are regulars.

The pantry started 20 years ago at the center and its mission is directed mainly at families in the eastern end of the county.

“Ironton has a food pantry. If you live in the Ironton area, we encourage them to go there,” Damron said.

The usual fare that is given away is canned staple items, although from time to time there will also be frozen items available such as frozen chicken, hot dogs and sausages, Damron said.

The center usually pays about 18 cents a pound for the food that is distributed. They buy from the Logan food bank as well as the one in Huntington, W.Va.

Donations may also come from Heiner’s Bakery and various area churches, including Palmyria Independent Missionary Baptist, Chesapeake Methodist, Defender, St. Ann’s and Big Branch Methodist.

They will donate both food and personnel who volunteer their time to work at the food pantry.

Occasionally the pantry will be the beneficiary of an individual’s largess as when a local farmer brought in surplus produce recently.

“We had the whole front of the building with cabbages, corn, nectarines,” Damron said. “It went so smoothly.”

About 500 families were able to take advantage of the farmer’s generosity.

Hours for the pantry are Mondays and Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to noon.