“This is a thing we got started about three years ago. All the Catholic churches went in together to do it,” explains Fr. Ted Machnik, of St. Mary of the Annunciation Catholic Church, in Portsmouth. “We wanted to assist all food pantries down here, and not just the Catholic ones.”
Participating in the fundraiser are St. Peter’s in Wheelersburg; St. Monica’s in New Boston; Our Lady of Lords, Our Lady of Sorrows, and Holy Trinity in West Portsmouth; and Holy Redeemer and St. Mary’s in Portsmouth. Together, the churches occupy a deanery of Scioto County, and the diocese assists by printing collection envelopes. The churches will collect cash and food donations to be delivered to Notre Dame High School for distribution among the 15 local pantries.
Arlan Weaver, of the Neighbor to Neighbor pantry at Central Baptist Church, in Portsmouth, said his pantry could always use more funding.
“We feed approximately 650 families a month. Right around 2,500 people; that’s kids and adults and everybody. Each month. We receive funds by way of donations and some sponsors, but we don’t have a lot that comes in,” Weaver said.
Anyone not attending these churches can still donate a non-perishable (canned or boxed) food item by delivering it to the high school Wednesday from 8 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. Last year, the high school collected over 5,000 food items from the public.
“We’ll have a truck outside the school with a couple kids out there. If anyone in the community would like to drive by, we would be happy to accept your donations,” Kathy Milligan, Notre Dame High School principal, said.
Students at the high school and elementary school are also asked to bring in one donation. The school will gather all the donated food, along with food and cash collected by area churches, and donate them to the 15 local food pantries.
Machnik said 100 percent of all the cash and food donations will go to benefit local pantries.
“There are other organizations that only a part of it comes back to Scioto County, but this way if somebody gives something it’s going to stay in the county. It’s going to go to a local food pantry,” Machnik said.
Glockner’s Honda-Toyota also contributed by collecting food donations last month for the local churches as part of their annual “Food Drive a Tundra” event. During the event, Glockner and volunteers from R.S.V.P. asked shoppers at Portsmouth Kroger to toss a food item into the back of a Toyota Tundra pickup truck. Lisa Marasek, spokesperson for Glockner, said they filled up three truckloads this year.
Machnik said it may be because of current economic conditions that there has been an increase in need in Scioto County, and said it’s the mission of the church to help those in need.
“Looking at the scriptures and what God tells us, we need to feed the hungry. That’s one of the corporal works of mercy, according to the Catholic church. But also, you have to meet people’s basic needs,” Machnik said.
Weaver said he was thankful for every single donation made to Neighbor to Neighbor.
“The donations we do receive, we thank the people and praise the Lord they’re coming in. We believe that He is providing for us in all aspects of our lives, and we want to thank the community or anybody out there helping us. It’s been a blessing,” he said.
Donations to benefit local pantries can also be made at any Scioto County Catholic church office through Sunday, Nov. 8.
RYAN SCOTT OTTNEY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 235, or e-mail email@example.com.