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Community food pantries partner with local gas producer Ascent Resources

Cambridge, Ohio — The ongoing global pandemic continues to be a strain on businesses, communities and families and is driving an uptick in those who need assistance at local food pantries.

The Smithfield Food Pantry, led by Stan Dombroski and located in the heart of Jefferson County, and Grace Food Pantry, led by Shannon Shatto and located in downtown Cambridge, have been assisting families in need for years and have both seen increased demand for their services over these last few month.

Smithfield and Grace cover a large service area including several communities in Jefferson and Guernsey counties, respectively, and those communities mirror that of local natural gas producer, Ascent Resources LLC , which is why partnering with them was such an easy decision said Ascent’s director of Government Relations, Amanda Finn.

“Things are tough for everyone right now, but especially for the areas Smithfield and Grace serve; it was an easy decision that we were happy to make to donate time and resources to both pantries to help our neighbors in any way we can,” she said.

Ascent is the largest producer of natural gas and oil in the state of Ohio by volume and while headquartered in Oklahoma City, its Ohio home base is Cambridge with another field office in Belmont County.

“Our food pantry here in Smithfield has enjoyed a long and strong partnership with Ascent, from their yearly donations around this time to the walk-in cooler they purchased for us last year so we could start to house perishable and healthy items for our families,” Dombroski said. “Each one of our 250 families are not expecting to receive a turkey this year, so we expect that will be a surprise for them.”

Natural gas and oil development has slowed a bit this year in Ohio and Appalachia as demand has decreased across the board over the last several months. The hope is that as folks begin to travel more, get back to work, school and play, and most importantly those who are ill get well and a workable vaccine is implemented, not only will things get back to normal but demand will increase and drive need for additional investment and production.

“Being able to assist families during this pandemic has become a top priority for our team here at Grace,” Shatto said. “We know the need in our community is great but having true partners, like Ascent, gives us continued hope that we can meet the needs of our communities most vulnerable and deliver to them what they need when they need it.”

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association joined member Ascent to assist with both donation drop-offs and to check in with the pantries to see what other needs exist. In talking about Ascent Resources, association Director of Public Relations Mike Chadsey has this to say about the overall effort: “We love their heart, and days like today are not just another to-do item on a checklist for these guys, they love giving back, they are a part of these communities and understand to whom much is given much is expected, and they live up to that each and every day.”

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