The Sheffield Ecumenical Food Pantry celebrated its new location with an open house in December 2017. The event marked more than three years of fundraising, planning and hard work to remodel and refit a building that had been donated to the Pantry. It was a true community effort, and the Community Foundation of Warren County was pleased to contribute to its success by awarding a $15,000 grant to cover a portion of the funds needed.
The Pantry has helped neighbors in need since 1980, operating many of those years from the basement of the Ruth M. Smith home. While that location was certainly appreciated, it was not designed for that type of use. The narrow outside steps to the Pantry were difficult to climb up and down with boxes of food, especially in the winter.
The new facility is centrally located and has been designed to better serve the needs of the volunteers and “customers”, and meet the Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. It’s all on one floor and at ground level with plenty of space for the storage, packing and distribution of the food. It also features a loading dock-style door in the back to make deliveries more convenient. The actual renovation took six months to complete and cost $65,000, plus a lot of volunteer labor.
“We’re very proud of our new facility,” explained Jack Cashmere, Food Pantry Treasurer. “We were fortunate to have donations of money and supplies from local businesses, along with the grant from the Community Foundation and so much help from the community itself.”
Now the Pantry can safely and efficiently provide aid to 100 or more families in the Sheffield area every month. More than 30 volunteers come together to pack and distribute the boxes of food on the third Wednesday of every month. “People line up out the door and down the block on distribution night. They’re very appreciative of the Pantry, and they truly respect this building,” said Mr. Cashmere. The building also serves as a meeting place for community organizations.
The Community Foundation’s grant application process provides an opportunity for 501 (c) (3) non-profit organizations, such as the Sheffield Ecumenical Food Pantry, to apply for funds to support a project or event that supports the community. Grant applications are available on the foundation’s website – cfowc.org. For more information contact the Foundation at firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling (814) 726-9553.