Food Pantry Grand Opening
Grand Opening of Food Pantry Started By O.U. Lancaster Student
Event scheduled for May 31 from 6 to 8 p.m.
Lancaster - When you think about the essentials in life, soap, deodorant and diapers don’t often come to mind. But, Robin Romano, a communication studies student at Ohio University Lancaster, thinks those things are crucial for families struggling to get by in a tough economy.
As the director of the Saint Mark Emerald Food Pantry, Romano has made sure personal hygiene products are on the shelves. She knows those type of items are not often available at a food pantry and that is what sets her food pantry apart. Romano worked with the church in Lancaster to open the pantry in its basement after taking a field research class at Ohio University Lancaster.
“We feel it’s a necessity of life, along with food,” said Romano. “Those are the first items that fly off the shelf, toilet paper, toothpaste…it’s amazing.”
Romano also wants those coming to the Saint Mark’s food pantry to leave with knowledge of how to make their dollar go a little farther. That is why she is giving them recipes for homemade household items.
“Recipes are being given that help them to be green or to be thrifty,” said Romano. “Making your own microwave popcorn bags or laundry detergent, I’m pretty sure no other food pantry is doing that.”
Fairfield County 211 is referring families to the pantry, which opened in mid-April. Families are permitted to “shop” from the shelves. They are not given a pre-made box or basket when they arrive.
“We believe a selection food pantry is important to clients so that they can choose from our shelves what their family needs," said Romano. “So far, we have helped 31 families with a total of 103 people within those families.”
A grand opening ceremony is being held for the food pantry on May 31st from 6 to 8 p.m.
"Robin is continuing her work in the COMS 405 Meeting and Event Planning class this quarter and has recruited some of her classmates to assist in coordinating the grand opening event," said Professor Candice Thomas-Maddox. "In addition, Robin has recruited the assistance of Alpha Phi Omega Interest Group at OUL, and they are hosting a food drive competition on campus to collect items."
Romano said area business leaders are being invited to the grand opening, and there will be a ribbon cutting. She said the idea is to talk to the business owners about donations and how they can help the cause.