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Pandemic-Safe Food Pantry Open Monthly in Shadyside

Photo by Shelley Hanson Holding a bag containing toiletries for those in need is the Rev. Seth Filburn, pastor of Lincoln Avenue United Methodist Church in Shadyside. The Shadyside Council of Church’s new food pantry home is a garage in the church parking lot. The pantry is open for drive-through service the third Thursday of each month.

SHADYSIDE — For those in need, the Shadyside Food Pantry is operating a drive-through food distribution to help people stay safe from COVID-19.

Nancy Moore, treasurer of the Shadyside Council of Churches that runs the pantry, said people can drive through the Lincoln Avenue Methodist Church parking lot up to its block garage, which is now operating as the food pantry headquarters. The church is located at 3838 Lincoln Ave.

The food will be distributed from 9-11 a.m. and 5-7 p.m. today. The pantry typically does its distributions the third Thursday of each month.

“We used to be in the Lincoln Avenue United Methodist Church. … Because of COVID we’ve been running it out of the garage next to the church,” Moore said.

Moore said the food pantry is typically used by those who live in the Shadyside area and who are income eligible, but no people will be turned away if they are in need.

She said the pantry’s new co-director, Lisa Bell, will help people determine what local pantry is closest to them in the future. For example, Martins Ferry residents typically can get help from the Daily Bread Center, also run by Bell. Ellen Clegg is her Shadyside co-director.

The pantry orders most of its food from the Mid-Ohio Food Bank, but it also receives donations that it distributes.

Moore said lately the pantry has not had as many people attending the monthly distributions, possibly because they are concerned about going out during the pandemic. She said people might feel better about getting their food while remaining in their vehicle, though. Volunteers will be there to place a box filled with goods into their vehicle.

“It is based on income, but the income requirements have changed due to COVID. I think it’s higher now,” Moore said. “We don’t turn anyone away, we’re glad to help them.”

The Rev. Seth Filburn, pastor of Lincoln Avenue UMC and president of the council of churches, said the pantry was put on hold for a while after its director, the late Paula Ginther, died in July. He said Ginther, who at one time worked as a reporter and photographer for The Times Leader, had a big heart.

“Her body couldn’t do everything her heart and mind wanted to do,” Filburn noted of Ginther’s medical issues. “We’re carrying on without her the best we can.”

Filburn said that in the future when COVID is no longer an issue, people likely will get to “shop” for their items inside the pantry again. For now, volunteers must pack the boxes for quick, socially distanced distribution.

To serve as the permanent food pantry site, Moore said the garage was recently upgraded with insulation. A local company may give it a free heating and cooling unit.

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