Twinsburg -- Families in the Twinsburg area now have access to emergency food resources, with the opening of the Our Community Hunger Center.
The food pantry began distribution June 13 and is located at 9733 Ravenna Road, Unit G. Providing non-perishable goods to a service area including Twinsburg, Solon, Hudson and Nordonia Hills, the pantry is dedicated to helping those who have fallen on hard times to worry less about where their next meal is coming from.
"Anyone experiencing financial difficulty and who is unable to provide sufficient food for their family is welcome to apply for our assistance," said pantry Trustee Debbie Smith.
Our Community Hunger Center offers assistance based on the national standards for poverty, Smith said. People who can normally afford food may find themselves unable to cover other important expenses, Smith added.
"They might have enough food but they don't have money for other things," Smith said. "It's not a long-term program ... it's not meant for people to come for years and years. Maybe they lost their job or someone's become ill."
The pantry takes in food or money donations and using these contributions to provide a one-week allowance of food to individuals or families of various sizes. Our Community Hunger Center President Carol Robinson said this method is intended to provide needy members of the community with the nutritional foundation of their meals and help them get through the month.
"We wanted to make sure that what we were providing was fresh, unexpired food," Robinson said. "We do purchase food cards with our donations because we don't provide meats or anything like that. It's all nonperishable goods that we provide. That way, a family will be able to go out and buy the meat."
With distribution and operation under way, Robinson said she and her staff are seeking donations and volunteers in hopes that hours and services can be expanded. Currently, the pantry's hours are Mondays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. and Thursdays from 2 to 5 p.m.
"Right now, we've helped a few families, which is wonderful," Robinson said. "I think that as we get out there and we start getting out to the community and words gets out, there will be more people to help. Our hours will start expanding once we have a larger need."
First-time applicants for assistance must come to the center in person and present a photo ID and proof of income and residence. Deliveries can be arranged after this initial visit, Robinson said.
As the pantry establishes itself in the community, Robinson said she hopes to garner support from local schools and citizen groups to expand the services she can offer to those in need.
"As we develop, we're going to be looking for volunteers," Robinson said. "Right now, it's kind of like a hand-to-mouth type of service but I do envision it growing. It's great for those that can to help out in any way they can. Anything is definitely appreciated.
"There is a big need in the community," Robinson added. "Especially in Twinsburg because they do not have any privately run hunger centers ... The one thing that we want to do is treat everybody that we service as one of our family members."