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Dry pantry helps fill community need

Friday, August 31, 2018

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Bags with pre-organized supplies are set aside every month on the third Monday for local families in need of home goods that government assistance does not cover.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.Shelves stocked with goods from various brands line the shelves in the paper goods pantry at Poland Presbytirian Church.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.A box listing the donations needed for the paper goods pantry sits outside the door for anyone who is interested in donating.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.A sign hangs outside of the paper goods pantry August 20 where community members in need go to recieve good thats average government assistance does not cover.

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Neighbors | Jessica Harker.The Poland Presbyterian Church hosts a free paper goods pantry on the third Monday of every month out of the church.

By JESSICA HARKER

jharker@vindy.com

Poland Presbyterian Church hosted its monthly paper goods pantry on Aug. 20.

The pantry, which runs out of the church building, is offered on the third Monday of every month. A paper pantry is one that has a variety of non food items that families need, but can’t receive on government assistance like food stamps.

Erika Carcelli and Eric Olson, two members of the church congregation, started the pantry four years ago.

“It’s important because we collect things that food stamps won’t cover,” Carcelli said.

The pantry focuses on toiletry goods, including toilet paper, paper towels, shampoo, tooth paste, razors and more.

The donations for the pantry come mainly from the church parishioners. Young members of the congregation also volunteer at the pantry.

Carcelli said that 11 junior high students and 20 high school students volunteer hours to stock, organize and inventory the pantry every month.

“It’s a great experience for everyone involved,” Carcelli said.

On Aug. 20 the pantry helped 72 people, eight families total, with the supplies that were donated.

Families come by the pantry between 6-7 p.m. where they can pick up a pre-packed bag filled with all the donated supplies they need for the month.

“It always feels great to help out,” Carcelli said. “They are always so grateful and its a very rewarding experience.”

Information on help from the pantry is mostly spread through the community by word of mouth, according to Carcelli.

She said that the first donations were given to families who were recommended to them through a local food pantry not associated with the church. Donations have since expanded to include other members of the community that are in need, often brought to the pantry’s attention by a parishioner.

To donate goods to the paper pantry, contact the church at 330-757-1547 to set up a time to drop items off.