The Star Beacon; Ashtabula, Ohio

March 17, 2013

Donations, volunteers needed for Geneva Food Pantry

By MARGIE NETZEL - mnetzel@starbeacon.com
Star Beacon

GENEVA — The Geneva Food Pantry, located in the Geneva Community Center, needs volunteers to answer telephones and make appointments.

“We are looking for someone who can substitute for the person answering the phone,” food pantry director Valerie Leitch said. “We will be able to let you know if you are needed at least 24 hours ahead of time, so the service won’t be a spur of the moment call,” she said.

Volunteer hours are usually on Mondays or Fridays from noon to 3 p.m.

In January and February, the food pantry received more than 30 dozen eggs, 300 pounds of fresh produce, more than 320 pounds of items from the closing of the Basic Ingredients store, and more than 450 pounds of chicken from a local retailer, Leitch said. Donations also included 500 pounds of personal care products from the students of the Geneva area City School District and the Winery at Spring Hill book club.

But the full shelves at the pantry were short-lived, Leitch said. In January, the food pantry helped 624 people — that’s 208 families — and 27 of those families had never used the food pantry before.

“The breakdown of the 624 people were 55 seniors, 346 adults and 223 children,” Leitch said.

Last year the pantry averaged 202 benefit families — that’s 609 people — per month.

Leitch said all donations are welcome, and the pantry gets a lot of help from local churches and organizations that collect and deliver food and monetary donations.

To organize a food drive or for more information, call 466-3048.

Donations are also being accepted at the Geneva Giant Eagle as part of the Cleveland Foodbank’s Harvest for Hunger campaign. Harvest for Hunger is a 21-county food and fund drive.

Any money donated at grocery stores, including the Geneva and Saybrook Giant Eagle stores, goes into credit accounts for each of the local food pantries.

For more information visit www.harvestforhunger.org. To donate: Send a check to Country Neighbor, Harvest for Hunger, P.O. Box 212, Orwell, OH 44076. Make sure to mark your donation as “Harvest for Hunger.”