GENEVA — The city has stepped forward in a time of crisis and supported those less fortunate, said Valerie Leitch, director of the Geneva Food Pantry.

“Our financial donations during the pandemic have greatly increased. This area is a great community,” she said.

Two grants have helped the food pantry improve the building and equipment needed to store food and keep it fresh. She said a $10,000 grant from INEOS helped pay for improvements to the building and a $1,500 grant from the Ohio Department of Agriculture helped pay for a freezer.

“We’ve replaced the old carpet in the building with tile that is so much easier to keep clean. We’ve painted the interior with a brighter cream color, and purchased newer, larger shelves to hold the food. We were also able to purchase a new cooler storage unit that now allows us room to now hold milk, produce, and cheeses that we couldn’t accept before,” Leitch stated in a written progress report.

She said the food pantry has been open throughout the pandemic. Leitch said the pantry is attempting to provide more healthy foods for families. 

Leitch said she has been buying salad to help improve the quality of the food. 

Donors to the food pantry have included individuals, families, businesses and corporations. Leitch said a local family provided money to purchase turkeys for area residents in need for the fourth year in a row.

“This past year we served a total of 1,747 families with 133 of them being new or first-time families for a total of 4,417 who really do appreciate your donations,” Leitch said.

Leitch said the pantry could use some volunteers to help bag food on pick up days. She said a new delivery service for senior citizens who can’t come to the pantry has been started.

“Volunteers should be able to stand for at least 20 minutes at a time and able to lift 30 pounds,” Leitch said.

She also said the Volunteers of Geneva will be starting the mobile food pantry at St. John’s Lutheran Church.

The organization started in the 1980s as a group of churches in the community gathered to start the pantry but it is now a non-profit organization on its own.

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