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Churches, volunteers help with food giveaway

She said she may have a skeleton crew of dedicated volunteers, but Jessica Anthony, executive director of the St. Vincent de Paul Society of the Mahoning Valley, said those individuals are helping to make sure food is being provided Monday to Friday to those in need.

Volunteers from local churches and the community have stepped up to help make sure people in Trumbull and Mahoning counties have food by preparing take out lunches Monday to Friday.

Anthony said because many of the church volunteers at past lunches are older, it was advised they not come in so fewer people are preparing the meals at the Youngstown site.

“I am fortunate to have a very dedicated group of volunteers who helps prepare the food. This really helps people in need,” she said.

Food is handed out at the dining hall 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Monday to Friday and breakfast 10 to 11 a.m. Saturday at 252 E. Wood St. with a food pantry for grocery items 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday at 317 Via Mt. Carmel Way.

“We want people to know we will provide food as long as we are able to,” Anthony said.

She said there has been an increased need for food from more of the general public so some guidelines where previously people had to get a voucher to get food has changed.

Anthony said because of the coronavirus outbreak there are some food items the pantry may have limited amounts of or not at all.

For updates or information, visit www.mahoningsvdp.com

The Trumbull County St. Vincent de Paul Society at 2415 Niles Road SE, Warren is serving pickup lunch 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday to Friday.

Lou Lepro, executive director, said Saturday meals are likely going to be canceled because the groups that help on weekends are usually teen groups from different churches.

“We canceled the last Saturday dining hall because we had a church teen group with many youth that we knew were going to be here. We are having as few people here as possible to protect those preparing the food and those who come to get food,” he said.

Lepro said likely the Saturday meals will be canceled, but a sign will be posted if that changes outside the hall. He said one Saturday a month is all adult volunteers, which may continue.

A recent lunch this week had nearly 70 to 80 people stopping in vehicles or walking to the site to get a bagged lunch to go, which are handed out to clients.

“We plan to do this as long as we can to help people in the community,” he said.

Members from different churches, including SS. Cyril and Methodius, Blessed Sacrament and St. Mary parishes, help at the dining hall.

Lepro said to keep volunteers, staff and clients safe, the hall will remain open only if volunteer groups are available to cook and serve meals. Also no meals will be served or eaten inside the hall but instead be served in carryout boxes and taken off the property. Also restroom facilities at the hall will not be available to the public.

Lepro said all volunteers are wearing gloves while preparing and placing food into carryout boxes.

He said an electronic sign on the hall and one outside the center will provide updates on whether the meal is being served or not.

Volunteers are also helping at the nearby St. Demetrios thrift shop.

“The people who have stopped to get food are glad to see this happening. We appreciate all that the volunteers are doing and understand if the volunteer groups need to cancel,” Lepro said.

Lepro said there are many church groups and other volunteers who help make it possible for the hall to be open on average 25 days per month.

bcoupland@tribtoday.com

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