Ad-Express and Daily Iowegian, Centerville, IA

Local News

April 16, 2012

Blakesburg food pantry serves four-county area

CENTERVILLE — A new food pantry serving parts of a four-county area in southeast Iowa opened for the first time the third Wednesday in March and will be open every third Wednesday each month from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.

The Loving Shepard Food Pantry in Blakesburg plans to serve Iowans living in eastern Appanoose and Monroe County and western Davis and Wapello County, pantry director Vera Miller said Friday.

"Ottumwa has several food pantries. Albia has at least one. And we thought if this whole central area of where the four counties meet, that there's nothing serving that area," MIller said. "And if driving is an issue, than perhaps we have something that we can offer those that can't drive very far."

The Loving Shepard Food Pantry is sponsored by local area churches — Christian Church of Blakesburg, Hope Well, a non-denominational church and the community — and operates out of the United Methodist Church in Blakesburg. Loving Shepard Food Pantry works with the Southern Iowa Food Bank for food assistance.

"And everything else is community sponsored," Miller said. "What we have discovered is that people in the community really want to serve those who are in need."

Miller said they are accepting monetary and food donations, but they do not have refrigeration so they can only take non-perishable canned food items. They also need personal hygiene items, like toothpaste, laundry and body soap and toilet paper, Miller said.

"Anything in the personal hygiene area and anything that would make a main dish of a meal," Miller said. "Tuna fish, spaghetti and meat balls in a can ... those kinds of things that they could literally make a meal around. A real luxury item would be like a canned ham."

Miller said many who came in March only asked for what they needed.

"The people who came in were so good about say, 'I don't want to take anymore than I need,'" Miller said. "And I found that very touching."

Checks made payable to Loving Shepard Food Pantry can be sent to pantry treasurer, Helen Theulen, Loving Shepard Food Pantry, Blakesburg, Iowa 52536.

Loving Shepard is a non-profit organization.

"And we have found that the people in the community have been very generous and very interested," Miller said. "Like in the Blakesburg community."

Miller said they are still are working on getting Unionville and Moravia actively involved.

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The Iowegian wants readers to think about the solicitation ordinance that will prevent groups or individuals from entering a roadway to solicit money. The Centerville City Council in June by a 5-0 vote passed the first reading of just such an ordinance. Public pressure and during a subsequent special meeting, the council voted 3-2 to table the ordinance. A second special meeting to discuss the solicitation ordinance is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 7 at City Hall. So, the question of the week is, "Do you or do you not support the ordinance to prevent solicitation of funds in city streets?"

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