Local pantries seek donations during holidays

Max Filby and Max Filby

Rachel Trobe did not realize how lucky she was to have a job until she met someone without one.

While working at the St. Thomas More food pantry, Trobe helped a disabled client before heading off to one of her jobs.

“I apologized for being all dressed up because of work,” Trobe said. “The lady [at the pantry] said ‘well you should be fortunate you can even go to work;’ it really made me think.”

With the holidays approaching, local food pantries expect an increase of clients, and Trobe is one of the volunteers who assists the additional visitors.

The University sophomore works two jobs and volunteers at the food pantry twice a week while taking classes. Trobe’s experiences volunteering at the food pantry have caused her to re-evaluate what she and others sometimes take for granted, she said.

“I always take for granted that I still have a body that works and that I can make money for a family,” Trobe said.

For her volunteer duties, she helps clients with their food and sorts items.

Trobe, who is majoring in dietetics, would also like to start a program at the St. Thomas More food pantry to offer a wider variety of healthier foods.

“I would really like to do something different,” she said. “Maybe foods with more fiber or protein and nutrients — something like that.”

The pantry is open on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and clients can visit every two weeks.

The St. Thomas More food pantry is still in need of donations for the holidays, including all non-perishable items.

So far, the food pantry has helped 2,000 people with their grocery needs this year, said Mary Jane Fulcher, president of the church’s St. Vincent DePaul Society.

“There’s always an increased need for food in winter when people are trying to stay warm,” Fulcher said. “Sometimes it’s just hard for families to afford both.”

The St. Thomas More food pantry is not the only local pantry that offers clients a way to pull through winter. The BG Christian food pantry on West Wooster Street is open Monday and Wednesday through Saturday.

With private donations and supplies from the food banks, the BG Christian food pantry receives food from local vendors.

Both Stimmels Market and Panera Bread donate leftover donuts, cakes, pies, bread and bagels to the BG Christian food pantry.

“People really like the bagels that Panera usually donates on Sundays,” Shirley Woessner, pantry director. “They usually last until Friday, but sometimes they are already gone by Wednesday.”

The BG Christian food pantry is also in need of all nonperishable items, along with different types of meat.

At the end of each month, both local pantries count the number of clients assisted in order to obtain more food from food banks in Toledo.

Food drives are also one way food pantries gather supplies for clients, Woessner and Fulcher said.

University students also helped collect donations.

From Nov. 8 through Nov. 12, residents in Offenhauer Residence Hall participated in a food drive for the St. Thomas More food pantry. Students often donated food from the Outtakes located in Offenhauer, said Sarah Friswold, Offenhauer hall director.

“People always want to give, but for college students it seems to fall off their plate because they are so busy,” Friswold said. “It was definitely more convenient.”

Students at Offenhauer donated 211 items during the five-day food drive.

While Trobe is balancing her two jobs, social life and academics, she plans to keep volunteering at the St. Thomas More food pantry.

“I would honestly be bored if I didn’t have something like that to do,” Trobe said. “Sometimes I feel like I’m stressed but it’s definitely worth it in the end.”

SEASON OF GIVING

Food items needed at the BG Christian food pantry and the St. Thomas More food pantry for the holidays:

Peanut butterJellySoupBeef stewMacaroni noodlesAll canned goodsMeats