Chesy food pantry gets United Way funding
CHESAPEAKE — Getting United Way funding for its upcoming year is expected to give the food pantry at the Chesapeake Community Center an approximately 20 percent boost.
But how far that will go is in direct proportion to how high food prices go in local grocery stores, since they are more and more becoming the source for this pantry’s supplies.
“We got a letter that we are eligible for the funding,” said Donald Moore, director of the Community Mission Outreach pantry at the center. “Hopefully it will be $1,000 a month.”
The pantry that is opened three days a week after the 15th of each month provides stables and produce for about 800 a month in the eastern part of the county from South Point to the Gallia County line. Currently its annual budget is $55,000.
“We have about the same number of people coming but food is costing more and it is getting more scarce, particularly from the food banks,” Moore said. “We have to buy a lot more food at retail prices. We will probably spend $3,000 this month locally from grocery stores.”
The pantry, which has been in operation since 1985, gets most of its funding from the 16 churches that make up the mission outreach plus individual donations of food and money. Each November the CMO sponsors an ecumenical Thanksgiving service that is also a fundraiser for the pantry.
“We always do a collection and it comes in over $2,000 for the food pantry,” Father Charles Moran of St. Ann’s Church, said. “And it also gives us the opportunity to give a presentation of what the food pantry is doing. The treasurer always gives a financial picture.”
As a member of the Chesapeake clergy, Moran is seeing an increase in the number of those needing food in the area.
“What you find are the older people are coming,” he said. “People have to make choices between medicine and food and utilities. Everything is going up and they are on fixed incomes.”
At the other end of the village is Compassion First food pantry at the Chesapeake Church of the Nazarene begun four years ago by Charles Bell, a parishioner. That pantry is open every Thursday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Bell is also taking care of more clients with less food available from food banks.
“We haven’t been able to get much from the food banks,” he said. “Then I have to go out and pay retail. When you have to pay retail, it is a lot more expensive.”
Right now, Compassion First takes care of 70 to 90 families a week.
“It is a lot busier this year and the busiest time of year has yet to come,” Bell said. “It always picks up in the fall and there is more talk about how (clients) have had their food stamps cut.”
Last month Bell spent $1,600 at grocery stores to stock his pantry’s shelves. Most of his funding comes from donations and informal one-person fundraisers. The next one will be Aug. 31 and Sept 1, at the Walmart in South Point.
“We sit in front of the store and ask people for donations, food or money,” he said. “My wife and I have to raise all the money ourselves.”
Usually those fundraisers bring in between $1,500 to $2,200.
“Times are hard and we don’t get as many donations,” Bell said. “Food prices are hurting the pantry. But God furnishes all this. When we get low in the checking account, he always supplies.”