Helping Hands still reaching out to the needy
Arlene Ellis sorts donations at the Helping Hands food pantry on Friday, Dec. 7. Ellis has been a volunteer at the Reynoldsburg pantry for 11 years. Buy This Photo
The shelves at Reynoldsburg's Helping Hands food pantry look better now than they did last month, but food donations are still needed to serve hungry families during the holidays, director Janet Munjas said.
Food items may be dropped off between 10 a.m. and noon at Reynoldsburg Helping Hands, 7356 E. Main St. The pantry serves only Reynoldsburg residents.
"We serve only local needy families and we serve a lot of people over the holidays," Munjas said.
She said money donations are also welcome. Checks made out to Reynoldsburg Helping Hands may be sent to Reynoldsburg Helping Hands Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1521, Reynoldsburg, Ohio 43068.
Winter weather brings chill winds and "chili and soup needs," according to Munjas.
"We could use canned chili and beef stew and canned soups and we always need things like peanut butter, jelly and canned fruits," she said.
Other needed items include cereal, spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, macaroni and cheese, canned vegetables, Jello and pudding.
People should check the expiration dates on items before they donate, Munjas said.
"We can't use food with expired dates," she said.
She said the food pantry also gives out $20 Kroger gift cards to families, which is why monetary contributions are also needed.
Families who need assistance should call Helping Hands at 614-868-9394.
Munjas has been director of Helping Hands for the past five years and taught for 41 years in Reynoldsburg schools before she retired.
She said the food pantry was opened in 1958 by school nurse Betty Bartlett and Mary Francis, a police dispatcher.
Operation Christmas Child
Another project aimed at helping the less fortunate, Operation Christmas Child, is still accepting online contributions.
People may still donate to Operation Christmas Child by packing shoebox gifts "virtually" through "Build a Box" at samaritanspurse.org/occ.
Brittany Smith, from Samaritan's Purse, said collection sites in Reynoldsburg and other central Ohio locations gathered 32,000 shoeboxes packed with school supplies, toys and other items last month during national collection dates to ship to needy children overseas.
Smith said donors who go online to Build a Box may choose whether they want to buy for a girl or boy, shop for gifts online, virtually pack an empty shoebox and finish by writing a note of encouragement to be given to the recipient.
Donors may also track boxes to the destination country, she said.