Community Rallies behind Boardman Food Pantry to Fight Hunger
In 2020, food insecurity was just one of the problems brought to the surface by the COVID-19 pandemic in communities across the country, and Boardman was no exception. However, amid the challenge, a new local volunteer effort arose to help those in need, and today it has blossomed into a community-wide mission to fight hunger and support families throughout the pandemic and well into the future.
The effort began with a group of friends who call Boardman home. During the height of the pandemic, this small group of community members heard about the rapidly increasing food insecurity problem in Boardman through various healthcare providers and wanted to help.
“I have a phenomenal team; we have a board of directors along with a whole bunch of wonderful volunteers that come in weekly. They are absolutely the best of the Pantry!"Mary, Boardman Food Pantry President
Together, they began organizing meal boxes and made deliveries to families in need. As word of the effort circulated through the broader community, several more volunteers stepped up. From there, the effort blossomed from just an idea to a formal organization, the Boardman Food Pantry.
Volunteers began their formal work in a single room at one of Boardman’s churches. Volunteers set up shelves, stocked donations and did what they could to help local families with the resources available.
“We provided as many meal boxes as we could to families based on supplies we had at the time,” Mary, a volunteer, said.
Word of the new food pantry continued to spread throughout the community, and it wasn’t long before they were receiving calls from different organizations, asking if they could deliver meals or provide donations. Through the influx of support, the Boardman Food Pantry increased its impact, serving 50-60 families per week.
Threemile Canyon Farms was among many organizations to catch wind of the volunteers’ work and the impact of the fledgling Boardman Food Pantry, and it was a cause Dr. Jeff Wendler, Director of Livestock Operations, did not hesitate to support.
“The team at Threemile hold many different roles and have many different focuses, but at the end of the day, our mission is all about feeding our communities and taking care of one another, so it was easy for us to identify with the Boardman Food Pantry and the vital work Mary and her team are doing,” Wendler said.
The Pantry experienced tremendous growth in the last year and was quickly cramped by its one-room operating space. With support from the community and the Morrow County Board of Commissioners, the Food Pantry’s Board purchased the Good Shepherd Lutheran Church and relocated the operation. The additional space enabled volunteers to help more people, thanks to additional food storage capacity, as well as the ability to expand to offer more services.
With the help of donations, volunteers make well-rounded meal boxes. Depending on what has been donated, the boxes include a variety of non-perishables and fresh meat, fruits, cheese, and vegetables.
Over the last year, the Boardman Food Pantry has helped more than 2,000 households. Meal box deliveries, coupled with bi-weekly pickup times on Monday from 9:30-11:00 a.m. and Thursdays from 6:00-7:00 p.m. are available to families in need.
Threemile is proud to partner with this amazing organization. To learn more about the Boardman Food Pantry and ways you can support its mission, visit www.boardmanchamber.org/list/member/boardman-food-pantry-1492