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Daily Bread Center kicks off fundraiser

T-L Photo/KAILEY CARPINO The Daily Bread Center is kicking off its “Raise the Dough” campaign to collect funds and donations to restock the food pantry. Pictured from left are Pat Hartenstein, president of the board, Daily Bread Center Manager Lisa Bell, board members Lillian Laughman and Dale Travis, Kathy Cunningham, (back) treasurer of the board and board members Cheyenne Schramm, Frank Carpenter, Sheila Carpenter, Rose Bailer and Karen Titonis.

MARTINS FERRY — The Daily Bread Center is kicking off its “Raise the Dough” campaign to collect funds and donations to restock the food pantry.

Kathy Cunningham, treasurer of the board, said for the Raise the Dough campaign, the Daily Bread Center will be sending letters to local businesses asking for monetary donations. Volunteers were getting letters ready to mail on Tuesday afternoon.

Cunningham said the Daily Bread Center used to have the fundraiser every year, but the event had been canceled for the past five years due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We’re resurrecting this fundraiser after five years,” she said.

She said the pandemic has had a major impact on the organization.

“Now, our funds are diminishing. There has been an increase in the amount of people we serve and a decrease in donations,” she noted.

Cunningham said she believes inflation is a major cause of the changes. She also said that the Daily Bread Center receives a lot of donations and support from local churches, and church attendance has declined since the pandemic.

“Before the pandemic, we served about 340 people in a month. Lately, we have been feeding anywhere from 500 to 900 people. It’s a big jump,” she said.

Cunningham said about 90% of the food and hygiene products it distributes come through the Mid-Ohio Food Collective, which provides a lot of the items at a reduced price and some for free.

Daily Bread Center Manager Lisa Bell said Walmart is also a main sponsor for the Daily Bread Center and provides produce, meat, bread and other perishable foods.

Pat Hartenstein, president of the board, said that even with the free and discounted food, the Daily Bread Center still pays a lot of money to supply food and hygiene products to local residents.

“We’re spending $15,000 a year on food, not to mention our rent and utilities. It’s a lot of money to raise because all of our food is free to our clients,” she said.

Bell said the Daily Bread Center volunteers prefer monetary donations over food items.

“We can buy more with your money through the Mid-Ohio Food Collective with the reduced prices than you can at the store,” she explained.

Cunningham agreed.

“The money can go a lot farther,” she said.

Bell said if anyone wants to donate food or hygiene items to the pantry, the items cannot be expired and must be dropped off during food pantry hours. She said she does not want items left out in the weather.

Cunningham said the Daily Bread Center also hosts a salad luncheon in the spring and a soup and sandwich luncheon in the fall to raise money for the organization.

Clients can pick and choose what items they want from the pantry so that no food goes to waste. Bell said she orders a lot of the food for the pantry and pays attention to what items disappear from the pantry shelves the fastest.

Cunningham said the pantry serves people who live in the Martins Ferry City School District. She said all clients must provide identification and proof of residency. She also said that although the Daily Bread Center volunteers will not ask for proof of income, clients must have “limited incomes and resources.” Clients have to sign a form stating that their household income does not exceed a certain amount based on their household size.

Bell said everyone who works at the Daily Bread Center is a volunteer. She said that in addition to the board members, a lot of local youth also volunteer on Saturdays.

“We have a passion to feed people,” Cunningham said.

The pantry is open from 10 a.m. to noon every Wednesday and from 10 a.m. to noon on the second, third and fourth Saturdays of each month.

Cunningham said produce and perishables are distributed on Wednesdays, and the Daily Bread Center distributes nonperishable foods on Saturdays. She said that clients can come on all Wednesdays but can only come to two Saturday distributions per month.

Monetary donations can be mailed to the Daily Bread Center at P.O. Box 416, Martins Ferry, OH 43935. The center is located inside the Martins Ferry Recreation Center on South Fourth Street.

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