SIDNEY — What was once a catch-all space at the Shelby County Veterans Services has become a food pantry to assist veterans and surviving spouses in the Shelby County community.
“We had this extra space, and we’re like, ‘what can we do with it to help veterans,’” Executive Director Christopher North said. “I came up with the idea of doing a food pantry, and then our team put all their thoughts together, and this is what we came up with.”
The food pantry is made up of nonperishable food items, as well as basic necessities like toilet paper, toothpaste, toothbrushes, laundry detergent and other toiletries. There is shelf space for notebooks, pens, pencils, glue and other school supplies for children, as well as slippers in various sizes. It took the SCVS three months to bring their vision of a food pantry into a reality, and all of the items currently on the shelves were donated from citizens and organizations in the Shelby County community.
North says their goal with the food pantry is to bridge the gap left with services that are available to veterans in the community, like a food voucher program the SCVS offers, as well as SNAP benefits that don’t cover taxable items.
“That food voucher isn’t enough to last a month,” North said. “We’re trying to gap that hole for the rest of the month.”
The SCVS expects to serve 25 to 30 people a month at first, but imagines that number will grow as word gets out about the food bank and the items and services available to veterans and their families. Currently, the food pantry will be available on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Appointments are needed on Tuesdays and from 9 a.m. to noon on Thursdays and can be made by calling 937-498-7282. Walk-ins are welcome on Thursdays from noon until 3 p.m. Appointments are offered in 15-minute increments, and the mission of the SCVS is to provide good and healthy food to veterans and surviving spouses in the community.
“Our goal here is vets helping vets. We’re all veterans, and we want to take care of our veterans,” North said. “If you’re hesitant about coming in because you’re not sure if you’re going to get good service, or somewhere else gave you bad service, our goal here is to give you good service. I promise we’ll do that.”
The SCVS accepts donations of nonperishable food items with long expiration dates from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday, and asks that anyone in the community wishing to donate call ahead. All donations can be brought to the SCVS office, 133 S. Ohio Ave., Sidney.
Along with the food bank, the SCVS offers veterans and surviving spouses of veterans in Shelby County emergency financial relief, transportation to VA medical centers and VA appointed medical appointments, claim work, help with education benefits, and more. For more information, contact the SCVSC at 937-498-7282 or visit https://www.shelbycountyveterans.org.
Reach the writer at 937-539-4825.