First of many Food Pantries held in Ripley

By Martha Jacob

On April  20 the Catholic Charities Southwestern Ohio (CCSWOH) with the support of the Ripley Ministerial Association, held a mobile food pantry in the Village of Ripley.
The food pantry served over 110 families during the event which was held at the Centenary United Methodist Church.
According to Jackie Bouvette, coordinator of the food pantry outreach program with CCSWOH, the plan for the food pantry was to provide food to Ripley families.  he said that local resident Dickie Kratzer was instrumental in initial conversations regarding the possibility of a distribution in Ripley.
He made the connection between Catholic Charities to the many churches/pastors/volunteers/community of Ripley, who shared in the vision.
“We purchased the food from the Free Store and Food Bank in Cincinnati,” Bouvette said. “So whatever we offer will depend on their inventory, but we try to bring a well-rounded variety of meals, anything from cereal to canned vegetables and this time we were able to bring out some freezer breakfast sandwiches, fresh eggs and fresh bread, ground hamburger and then we had sweet potatoes, apples and other fresh produce. We ended up with over 20 unique food items.”
He continued, “The next food pantry in Ripley at the United Methodist Church will be on Wednesday, May 18. We have also extended an invitation to residents of Aberdeen and Higginsport.”
Bouvette explained that tables were set up in the church’s all purpose room with a walkthrough past the tables with two or three items on each table.
Volunteers stood behind each table and assisted the residents fill their bags. Because some of the food has been donated or subsidized as an Ohio Commodities food, families had to register before receiving their food.
“We had a lot of volunteers in the parking lot of the church helping people load their groceries,” Bouvette said. “Volunteers, more than 50 came from everywhere. We had volunteers from many of the Ripley churches and St. Michael’s provided a great lunch for all the volunteers at the end of the day. We all came together for the sake of a shared mission to serve Ripley residents.
“This first time Ripley food pantry gets a gold star for success. It really was a beautiful thing and God was definitely at work.  With that many volunteers, it had to be a success.”
Bouvette said that Catholic Charities sees this program as a partnership, not just as a service.
For more information on this and the next Food Pantry please call (513) 672-3720.