Last updated: July 25. 2013 4:24PM - 797 Views
Majal Perry

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The Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio (LSS) mobile food pantry project will begin making regular visits to Scioto County beginning Thursday at St. John Lutheran Church, 5600 Junior Furnace-Powellsville Road, Franklin Furnace.
Visits by the mobile food pantry will take place on the third Thursday of every month from noon to 2 p.m. and will serve 125 qualifying Scioto County families per trip.
The Lutheran Social Services mission is to help relieve hunger, provide hope, healing, and housing.
The food pantry is able to provide three of those items, said Mark McPherson, manager of the mobile food pantry.
According to McPherson, almost 60 southern Ohio food pantries have closed within the last few years.
This has been a dream of our corporate director for years to serve southern Ohio. We knew that the unemployment rate was high down there. When people lose jobs, they lose money to be able to do things. Food items arent the highest priority for those struggling when medical bills and rent must be paid. Roughly three days worth of food will be provided per person, and as more funding comes available, we will make more trips, said McPherson.
The food pantry will be full choice, meaning that clients will be choosing what they will eat. Shopping carts will be provided, and the mobile food pantry experience for families will be like that of a grocery store, complete with aisles.
McPherson spoke of the inspiring relationships formed with clients.
When you can help people with food, and they see that this is more than just a food program, they begin to consider you part of their family, he said. They know they have someone they can share their problems with. If you are down on your luck, you want someone to talk to.
Funding maintains the food pantry, and if enough is received, a permanent food pantry in southern Ohio is possible. With the aid of church and individual donations, business partnerships, grants, and food drives, the LSS was able to serve an astounding 125,091 meals to 5,118 families last year.
Those interested in using the pantry must have a referral from FirstLink, a nonprofit that works to improve lives. Referrals can be received by calling (877) 704-3663 on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. The line is also open on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 7 a.m. to 8 p.m.
With its regional divisions of Lutheran Social Services of Southern Ohio and Lutheran Social Services of Northern Ohio, Lutheran Social Services of Central Ohio serves thousands of people each day, with a focus on the core societal issues of hunger, housing, healing, and hope. By providing food pantries, senior living, homeless shelters, affordable housing communities, and other programs and services, families are uplifted and communities strengthened.
LSS is affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America, recognized by the Lutheran Church- Missouri Synod and a charter member of Lutheran Social Services in America.

MAJAL PERRY can be reached at (740) 353-3101, ext. 234 or via email at pdtfeatures@portsmouth-dailytimes.com
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