OTWAY — In 2011, one woman decided it was time to continue her ministry by helping her community back home in Ohio.
“I started working in a ministry in Floyd County, Kentucky and volunteered down there for seven years,” said Shirley Jones, Founder of Manna from Heaven Food Pantry. “It came to the point where the Lord changed my mind and said ‘I need you to start a ministry back in Ohio where you live.”
Manna from Heaven Food Pantry is located behind Beech Fork Church in Otway, Ohio and serves both Scioto County and Adams County.
The pantry is open every second and fourth Thursday of the month except in November and December it is open the second and third Thursday due to the holidays.
“Right now we are doing the drive through pantry because of COVID but we are hoping to go back to our inside pantry where people come in and sign in and drink coffee or eat donuts while waiting on their boxes but we are hoping to get back to that at the first of the year,” said Jones.
Jones said they give away approximately $120 worth of food products in each box for each family.
“This summer it has been down just a little bit because of stimulus, extra food stamps, and things like that but in the last month or so we have picked up a little bit,” said Jones. “We could do anywhere from 150 to 200 families in a month’s time on those two days.”
The pantry receives many food items from a Cincinnati Food Bank.
“We are set up where they have a list of the foods that are available each week and I go in and order and then they deliver it down in Portsmouth where we go and pick it up,” said Jones.
Many of the items kept in the pantry are items like canned goods, spaghetti, and other items meals can be made with. Food items are not the only items the pantry offers, Jones said they also have what they call a burnout cabinet.
“We keep pots and pans, dishes, towels, sheets, and things like that we can give to families on a need basis whether it’s a fire or someone who just moved into the area that doesn’t have anything,” said Jones. “We usually have a waiting list for if someone needs a bed or a couch or a chair, sometimes a washer or dryer, it just depends on what we get donated.”
Clothing is available every day the pantry is open and every June or July the pantry does a clothing giveaway. Jones said the pantry recently paired with Bottoms Up Diapers in Lancaster.
“We will be having diapers and wipes available for families every month,” said Jones.
Items that are donated but not deemed as necessary, get taken to the 23 Southbound Flea Market where the church sets up and sells nicknacks and decorations.
“We go to the Flea Market three or four times a year and all the money goes right back into the pantry for whatever we need, it might be for food, for the Christmas Project, for school supplies, we don’t keep anything it all just goes back into the ministry,” said Jones.
The pantry is currently working on their Christmas Kids Project where they raise money to be able to buy gifts for children.
Jones said the Flea Market is where a lot of the Christmas money comes from.
“We usually do about 200 kids for Christmas every year and that comes from donations of money where we take names and go out and shop for the kids,” said Jones.
Jones said it is a blessing to be able to have the pantry.
“It’s a blessing, it’s a satisfaction knowing even if there is one person who comes through that touches your heart, you feel like you have done good,” said Jones.
For more information regarding Manna from Heaven Food Pantry contact Shirley Jones at (740) 372-4841.
Manna from Heaven Food Pantry is open every 2nd and 4th Thursday of each month from 10a.m. to 1p.m.
Reach Darian Gillette at (740) 353-3101 ext. 1931, or by email at [email protected]
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