Local food pantry benefits locals

Volunteers at The BG Christian Food Pantry served people for the final time at their Wooster Street location on Monday and the pantry will be moving locations to 419 Gould St. on Wednesday, July 2.

BG Christian Food Pantry has been open since 1984, according to director Shirley Woessner. Woessner has been the director for nine and a half years.

The BG Christian Food Pantry has been getting free rent for their space in St. John’s Episcopal Church for 11 years, according to volunteer Joanne Fields. However, the landlord wants to rent the space out now, Fields said.

Fields has been volunteering at the pantry between six to seven years.

Woessner and other volunteers think that moving to a different location will be an effective transition for the business and for the people they serve.

“It has more room,” Woessner said. “We have quite a bit more space than we had.”

Fields said the large amount of steps at the pantry tend to be an issue for elderly and handicapped people who come there.

Jeremy Converse, a volunteer, also said that the area where visitors have to wait in line to access the pantry tends to flood. Visitors also have to wait in line outside of the pantry because of the small space inside.

“I think that it’s a real need,” Fields said about moving to a different location.

The BG Christian Food Pantry is one of several food pantries in Bowling Green that serve residents with low income and temporary layoffs.

Woessner said there have been a variety of different groups who have come to the food pantry over the years, such as blended families and homeless people. Woessner also said they have even served people who were living out of their car.

Visitors of The BG Christian Food Pantry can choose from a variety of soups, fruits, vegetables and canned foods such as beef stew and tuna. Woessner said that volunteers pick up the food from places such as Kroger, Panera and the Northwest Ohio Food Bank.

People need to come to the pantry with a referral from places such as the Social Services Agency in order to purchase food from the aisles, according to Woessner. However, Fields said anyone could come to the pantry to get bread and sweets.

The BG Christian Food Pantry has 30-35 total volunteers, which Woessner said is contributory to its success.

“I love every minute of it,” Woessner said. “But without the volunteers, it’s nothing.”

New volunteers are always welcome and appreciated at BG Christian Food Pantry as well.

“If they can help us out, we’ll take them,” Woessner said.

The volunteers also have positive experiences with helping the people who come into the food pantry.

“I enjoy getting to help the people who need it more than me,” Converse said.

Even though BG Christian Food Pantry will be moving, people can still expect to go there and have their needs met.

Hours for the pantry are Monday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. and Thursday from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m.

“Some of these people you have a real need for,” Fields said. “Some of them are really needy and your heart goes out to them.”