Brookfield United Methodist Church’s food pantry program has taken off with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. A growing number of families and individuals stop by the church twice a month for its free food giveaway, and donors have generously passed along money and food to keep the shelves stocked.
“It started in a little closet in the church!” said Andrea Kreutzer, pantry manager.
The pantry is now moving into the community with a “free food pantry,” a cupboard stocked with food and personal care items on the Second Street side of Mohney Heating and Cooling, 1248 Standard Ave., Masury.
The free food pantry, which opened Jan. 12, was funded with a $1,500 grant by the East Ohio Conference of the United Methodist Church, said Pastor Dick Smith. The grant was awarded before the pandemic, but the project was put on the back burner as demand for the food pantry grew.
The Mohney family, who are members of the church, were eager to help and provide a location that is lighted at night and is covered by a security camera, Smith said.
“They’re in an area where we felt it will help people,” Smith said.
There are two other free food pantries in the township: Six-Fourteen Church has one outside its building at 1382 Broadway Ave., Masury, and Madelyn and Makenzie Fonagy created a “Blessing Box” at the office of their grandfather, Dr. Joseph Fonagy, 7159 Warren Sharon Road, Brookfield.
A second BUMC free food pantry will be set up “as soon as we see what’s going on with this one,” Smith said, and the church is exploring others ways of getting food to people who need it.
“Obvious need in the community for this,” he said.
Kreutzer said it has been exciting to watch the pantry effort “explode.” Support has even come from outside the community, and there has been a ready supply of volunteers showing up the second and fourth Saturdays of the month.
People who come in are thankful for the help, Smith said. Some also want to pray, and others appreciate having someone to talk to to, if only for a short while.
“I tell them I’m giving air hugs and prayers,” Kreutzer said, who calls the effort “God’s work.”
“I was just called to do this,” she said.
Local food pantry distribution days:
- Brookfield United Methodist Church, 6951 Grove St., 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 23. Information: 330-448-1001.
- Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, 8148 Ulp St., 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Jan. 16. Information: 330-448-6731.
- Salvation Army at Living Waters Community Church, 7382 Stewart Sharon Road, 10 a.m. to noon Jan. 22. Information: 330-568-8033.
- Hartford Community Church Food Ministry, 8 to 10 a.m. Jan. 16, 3334 Route 7, Hartford. Information: 330-717-2851. Brookfield Senior Citizens Van will deliver within Brookfield and Masury.