Neighbors helping neighbors is the idea behind an effort by a group called Reynoldsburg Just Serve to help stock a local food pantry.

Founder Crystal Davies said the Just Serve food drive is designed to fill 1,000 grocery bags with donations for the Reynoldsburg Helping Hands Food Pantry.

She said the effort coincides with the National Day of Service on Sept. 11 -- "Only we do a national month of service," she said.

The food drive will continue through Sept. 30.

By Sept. 7, Davies had found seven volunteers, or "service coordinators" to distribute at least 100 grocery bags printed with the Just Serve logo in their neighborhoods.

"There is so much going on in our country with hurricanes, floods, wildfires and earthquakes," she said. "Please keep all in your prayers and remember our hungry and needy here in Reynoldsburg."

The volunteers deliver the bags to front steps in their neighborhoods, along with a flyer explaining the program. After the bags are filled, Just Serve volunteers will pick them up and deliver them to the food pantry at 7356 E. Main St. in Reynoldsburg.

Janet Munjas, director of Helping Hands, said she was thrilled to learn about this year's effort.

"We can use so many things with winter coming," she said. "I can't begin to explain what this means to us. We get low every summer, so anything we get now helps to get us through the winter."

Davies began coordinating the food drive as a response in 2014 to Feed Ohio, part of the Ohio Governor's Office of Faith-Based and Community Initiatives. A gubernatorial proclamation issued at the time urged people to donate to their local food pantries during September.

Davies urged the city of Reynoldsburg and Reynoldsburg City Schools to pass similar resolutions in 2015.

The governor's office did not approve a Feed Ohio resolution this year, but that did not stop Davies.

"I knew we had to continue this wonderful program," she said. "We tried a new approach this year, however. The neighborhood service coordinators will give bags out mostly to friends and neighbors they know want to participate."

She urged people to donate to Helping Hands this month, even if they don't receive a bag on their doorstep.

"The food pantry needs the donations," she said. "We want to stay consistent and make sure the food drive is an annual thing for Reynoldsburg."

Davies is on the public-affairs committee at the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints.

"Part of what we do is service to our neighbors," she said.

Munjas said people may bring check donations and nonperishable food items to the pantry between 10 a.m. and noon on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.

"We need cereal, pastas and spaghetti sauce, pancake mix and syrup, soups of every kind, canned pasta, mac and cheese, boxed potatoes, Jell-O and pudding, vegetables of all kinds, peanut butter and jelly and personal items, such as shampoo, toothpaste, soaps, lotion, etc.," she said.

She said the pantry also needs volunteers.

"We have lost a few over the summer and have not been able to replace them," she said.

Helping Hands serves only families living in the Reynoldsburg school district.

People needing help may call 614-868-9394 and leave their name and phone number, along with the number of adults and children in their household.

Volunteers then call back and make an appointment for a family member to come in and discuss how the pantry can help.

They set up a time to pick up groceries from the pantry.

Checks payable to Reynoldsburg Helping Hands may be sent to: Reynoldsburg Helping Hands; P.O. Box 1521, Reynoldsburg, Ohio, 43068.

pwillis@thisweeknews.com

@PamelaThisWeek