Family Mission opens food pantry

Prayer for the hungry

Samantha Bones of Conneaut, holding her 8-month old son Elliott, far right, along with her father Greg Bones of Warren, Warren Family Mission Pantry Coordinator, 2nd from right, and other supporters of the WFM, say a prayer during the grand opening of the pantry Thursday morning. Photo by R. Michael Semple

WARREN — To help the growing number of hungry people in Warren, the Warren Family Mission’s food pantry is now open to the public.

The grand opening for the new food pantry was held Thursday morning at the new location on West Market Street. Pastor Chris Gilger, executive director of the Warren Family Mission, had the honor of cutting the ribbon.

“We saw a great need for this in the community,” said Dominic Mararri, director of public relations for the Warren Family Mission. “Last year, we gave out 700,000 pounds of food and so far, we’ve seen the need grow.”

Along with Second Harvest Food Bank donating the food, the building, a fork lift and coolers were all donated. Kundel Industries did the heating and cooling, Covelli Enterprises donated the shelving and someone anonymously donated $20,000 to fix the roof. Volunteers from the Mission’s men’s facility helped renovate the building.

Previously, food was distributed out of a small room in the main building on Tod Avenue and people had to walk down a flight of stairs to get to the distribution center. The new 4,200-square-foot location is a larger,one-floor space with better access for the elderly and disabled. It also has a loading dock that makes it easier to transport food.

Commissioner Dan Polivka said the Trumbull County commissioners will continue to help the Mission and Trumbull County residents through the Feed the Children and Food for Seniors events.

“The Mission is a steadfast force in not only helping the people of Warren, but throughout Trumbull County,” Polivka said.

The Mission also will continue its giveaway Fridays, Make A Difference Day food drive and distribution, and Free Milk Fridays, during which the Mission passes out 1,200 gallons of milk and 50,000 pounds of food. An event is set 9:30 a.m. today and will continue until supplies run out.

“This need is met by the generosity of the community,” said Mararri. “We would like to make it a choice pantry, but we need to get it off the ground first.”

Mararri said for now, people can come to get one bag of groceries per month, but once more donations start coming in, the pantry will allow for two or three bags at a time. Down the road, the Mission also hopes to use a points system to give people more freedom in choosing the items they receive.

Warren Mayor Doug Franklin said he is proud of the work the Mission is doing for Warren and believes the addition of a food pantry will enhance the community.

“We should always lift up those who may be in a hard place.That’s what our community is about, whether you’re doing well or doing bad, we have a vested interest in helping each other,” Franklin said.

The pantry will be open twice a week, on Tuesday and Wednesday 9:30 a.m. to noon and 1 to 3 p.m. In the future, depending on need and availability, Mararri said the Mission plans to be open a third day as well.