Businesses and residents donate to food pantry

ST. CLAIRSVILLE– Community members continue to help those in need, particularly around the holidays during the surging coronavirus pandemic.

About 20 people turned out Sunday to assist in filling trucks and vans with food donated by Riesbeck’s Food Markets, Walmart and residents. The supplies were transported to the local food pantry for distribution.

The Sunrise Rotary Club undertakes such a project each year in cooperation with the St. Clairsville Council of Churches.

“Despite COVID, this was their largest donation year,” St. Clairsville Mayor Kathryn Thalman said, citing a “tremendous outpouring of love and caring.”

Thalman, Safety and Service Director Jeremy Greenwood and police Officer Greg Clark all showed up to lend a hand.

“The Sunrise Rotary packs the truck from Walmart and Riesbeck’s in St. Clairsville,” Gwen Scales, food pantry director, said.

“We do it every year.”

“We did get many items. We’re really thankful. The food pantry is really stocked for a good while,” Scales said, adding the pandemic did not keep people away. “Everybody turned out to help us unload the truck.”

“We have 120 families signed up for our Christmas distribution Dec. 3 and Dec. 10. They will be given quite an abundance of food,” Scales said. “That’s about normal for us. We serve about 120 families each year.”

The pandemic has meant adjusting the program this year.

“There’s a service at 9:30 a.m. on Dec. 3 and one at 1 p.m. at First Presbyterian Church. They’re going to be out in the parking lot. It’ll be a drive-up (event) and they’ll listen on the radio to that (church) service. Then they’ll come to the food pantry.”

“We did have to change everything because of COVID to being outside. It’s a first for us this year,” she said.

“It is our yearly community service project. We take a lot of pride in that,” Ashley Spencer, past president of the Rotary club, said.

“It’s usually the weekend before Thanksgiving, just because of the need of the local food pantry in St. Clairsville.”

She said Thomas Auto Center regularly donates use of the vehicle to haul the food.

“The community support is absolutely amazing, and (Sunday) at Riesbeck’s when we spoke with the manager … he estimated well over $10,000 of groceries were donated. … There was one businessman locally that walked in and donated $3,000, and we had another couple who wrote a $2,000 check to the food pantry.”

“The need is there, and even though the pandemic is going on, people have been more than gracious and more than giving, knowing that people are not in a good position,” she said. “Yesterday was one of the largest days I have personally seen in the 10 years I have been involved. … The need is immense. The local food pantries have more and more people that are meeting criteria and that are asking for help.”

Spencer thanked all the donors and volunteers.


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