Christian food pantry serves community through local store donations

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BG’s christian food pantry.

Paige Crawford and Paige Crawford

Hunger has been an ongoing problem across the Unites States and according to www.wfp.org (World Food Programme), 842 million people in the world do not have enough to eat.

Several hunger organizations such as Bread for the World, The Hunger Project, and Feeding America are all trying to find a way to reach the famished population on national levels. Trying to reach the area of Bowling Green is where the BG Christian Food Pantry comes in.

The director of the food pantry, Shirley Woessner, and the 30+ daily volunteers strive to “provide people who are down on their luck and those less fortunate with food in their time of need,” Woessner said. The support of local store donations such as Kroger, Starbucks, Panera Bread, Northwest Food Bank, and many more allow the Christian Food Pantry to keep serving the community.

In 2005, Woessner was contacted to take over the food pantry for the then ill director. “No. I’m not a leader, I’m a follower” was the response she gave to the director at first, due to her lack of confidence in public speaking. After some reconsideration she decided to take over and has been the director ever since.

“It’s strange how you learn how to speak when you have to. It just kinda grows on you,” she said.

Speaking isn’t the only thing that has grown on Woessner, the BG Christian Food Pantry has been nothing but fun for her. “I really enjoy it,” she said. “I never realized how many people are in real need.”

This past January, a total of 92 households, 235 people, 84 of them children, received food from the Christian Food Pantry. The month before, the pantry saw 74 households and 186 individuals.

A person in need must get a referral by showing proof of income to prove that they are in need. Once this happens, the family is able to visit the pantry every three months. An employee or volunteer will walk them around the market to make sure they get all the essentials on their list. A family may also come in anytime for breads and sweets as a bonus.

Woessner noticed more people come into the food pantry over the past month due to the food stamp decrease amongst families.

“People feel embarrassed because they never thought they’d find themselves in that situation. But whatever the situation, we don’t question them,” she said.

Shayna Smith, a recent alumnae of BGSU has never used the food pantry but knows the struggle of supplying food for her household. Both her and her roommate were paying for their own college tuition, working, and much more. Smith went to apply for food stamps to get help. “Though I felt a little embarrassed about going to apply for food stamps, once I got them they were of so much help. We saved a ton of money,” Smith said.

Junior Malcolm Mason, who has a small child, knows the feeling of being in need.

“I would recommend anyone who is really in need of help to go to the food pantry or any other place that will offer help. It doesn’t show you have failed in life, everyone falls short sometimes and they will help you get back up,” Mason said.