Fayette's Helping Hands food pantry opens 1.21.09

Written by David Green.

Bob Yano wanted Fayette’s new Helping Hands Food Pantry to be more than a typical small-town emergency food supply.

When the facility opened last week, it was obvious that his plans were realized.

There’s more in the “store” than donations from area residents—although those items play an important role. The pantry also has a significant amount a goods from the Northwest Ohio Food Bank near Toledo.

There’s an array of canned goods and packaged food, as expected at most any pantry, but there’s also milk in a cooler, meat in a freezer, a small amount of fresh fruit and a lot of bread and bagels.

Volunteers also hauled in some soap, baby formula and diapers from the Food Bank.

There are even shopping carts to make the experience more like visiting a food store, Yano said.

The pantry is located in the former Gas Light Inn restaurant building owned by Don and Jane Stiriz, next to the Pizza Stop in downtown Fayette. That gives access to the cooler and freezer that most pantries wouldn’t have.

Helping Hands opened last Thursday without much fanfare—an intentional slow start to try out the facility and see how well it operated.

When the panty committee members learned how long it would take to obtain their own federal tax exemption—essential to obtain items from the Northwest Ohio bank—they sought other avenues and were able to use the Fayette Church of the Nazarene’s exemption.

After that was arranged, they drove to Toledo to fill a trailer with goods.

Many financial donations have been received for the project, Yano said, and additional gifts can be taken to Huntington Bank in Fayette.

Donation boxes for food and dry goods are in place at the library, school and churches to help maintain the stocked shelves.

Volunteers are opening the store to those in need every Thursday from 1 to 6 p.m. Additional volunteers are needed for a variety of other jobs.

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