The Athens County Food Pantry, or ACFP, will arrive at its first stop on Feb. 13 as it takes its services on the road.
The scheduled mobile van deliveries have been added as an addition to what ACFP already does: serving clients Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The urge to travel its service stems from the fact that some in the area are not able to travel to the pantry’s location at 13183 State Rt. 13.
“Trying to get to our main food distribution location can be problematic,” Karin Bright, president of Athens County Food Pantry Board, said.
This is why when choosing locations, Bright and the board looked at areas where there weren’t many food pantries nearby. The locations they will be visiting include: Alexander Local Schools in Albany, Trimble Elementary in Jacksonville, Shade Community Center in Shade, Federal Valley Resource Center in Stewart, Amesville Elementary and the Waterloo Community Senior Center in New Marshfield.
All of the locations have outside space or shelter areas that allow the pickups to be conducted outside.
“We’re doing this all outside so that we do not have to deal with any facility having to come in after us and deep clean,” Bright said.
With help from Rural Action and other community partners, ACFP will rent out refrigerated trucks and pack them with its typical boxes and bags for clients. ACFP has visits listed for twice a month with the locations being rotated. The pantry has only planned for events through April in order to see how it can continue. At each date, the ACFP will only allow up to 25 households to register.
“We had to come up with a starting point, and I talked with our food committee chair and our packing crew and they felt that was a number they could work with to see how it works,” Bright said.
ACFP hopes to continue the service throughout 2021 and serve different communities throughout Athens County.
“I think the mobile Athens County Food Pantry will be extremely beneficial since not everybody has the opportunity to travel long distances to food pantries,” Nicholas White, a freshman studying political science, said. “Bringing food pantries on the road to famished communities is a very good idea.”
Not only are underclassmen excited by the idea, but so are sororities that have helped out with ACFP in the past. One such sorority is Alpha Gamma Delta, which focuses its philanthropic work on ending hunger in the area and the country.
“I have volunteered multiple times at ACFP with my sisters and have seen firsthand how it helps those in the Athens community,” Alex Williams, a junior studying strategic communications, said. “I think that making pick-up locations more accessible is a fantastic step in fighting hunger in the Athens community while families and community members are also navigating the COVID pandemic.”
Any families who are interested in visiting one of these locations must register at least a week prior to the pick-up date. Visit https://athenscountyfoodpantry.org/ to sign up or for more information.
“We’re just really excited at the opportunity to expand what we do and continue to serve people and we’re hoping that we can find other creative ways to do that,” Bright said.