OHIO VALLEY — With a global pandemic and the rising cost of goods, God’s Hands at Work said the need for assistance is there but not always obtainable.
This is where the nonprofit’s mobile food pantry comes into play.
“We go out into really rural, outlying areas. They’re still in Gallia County, but it’s probably 40-45 minutes from here,” said Lisa Carroll, director.
But the organization takes its pantry to more than just Gallia County, they also service Meigs and Jackson counties as well.
“We go out into really rural areas of the county and we take our box trailer out there,” Carroll said. “[We take] boxes of food, we take personal hygiene items. Some items from our baby pantry, like diapers and wipes. We’ve taken blankets before, during the winter months.”
Carroll said the trailer is setup at an accommodating location, cars line up and as they pull through, they are loaded up with supplies.
“That’s to get to the folks that can’t get to our service center,” Carroll said.
As previously reported by Ohio Valley Publishing, God’s Hands at Work has moved to a new location on Jackson Pike to better serve the community.
“Now that we’re more centrally located, I think more people will be able to get to us,” Carroll said. “But these are the folks that are so far out that they just can’t. And a lot of them will come, like one person will come and pick up for several families or the families will come together. We’ll have two or three or four families, one person from each family in a truck or car, and they’ll pick up for several families and some of them pick up for elderly neighbors and take it to them or shut-ins.”
Carroll said with COVID, people would often pick up and porch drop for those with COVID or those not wanting to risk contracting the virus.
While the nonprofit has some funding left from last year to help continue deliveries in Gallia County, they have received grants from the Foundation for Appalachian Ohio (FAO) to do distributions in Jackson and Meigs counties.
Carroll said that while Gallia County did not receive a grant this year, the FAO is hosting a fundraiser.
“They’re [FAO] actually doing a fundraiser at [the] moment called Cause Connector, online,” Carroll said. “They reached out to me and said you know, we know there’s a gap in Gallia County for this year. We wondered if you’d be interested in applying for Cause Connector.”
Through the online fundraiser, the goal is to raise $6,000. The fundraiser started Feb. 14 and will run until April 8.
The $6,000 will cover the distributions for three months at one location.
“Just one trip. We would love to be able to expand that to like go to several locations in Gallia County,” Carroll said. “Last year we went to the Gallia community out around the Greenfield Volunteer Fire Department and Townhouse. They let us park there and the fire department and some of the trustees came and helped unload and load stuff in people’s vehicles. That was wonderful to have their support and their help.”
Carroll said expansion is the goal, but funding is needed first.
“We would like to expand to be able to go down around the Crown City, Mercerville area and then maybe like Cheshire, Addison…that area of the county,” Carroll said. “It’s just, without the funding, we just can’t do it.”
Carroll said sometimes the hardest part is finding a location to set up as the trailer is quite large.
“The truck and trailer together is kind of big, so you need a good-sized parking lot where we can pull over to the side,” Carroll said. “And then a location where folks can line up where they’re not out in the road. It takes a certain location to be able to do that.”
2021 was the first year of the mobile food pantry in Gallia County, starting out as an idea stemming from COVID, Carroll said it was “very well received.”
“Because so many people were restricted with their transportation and folks who used to be able to come and pick them up and take them places weren’t going anywhere anymore,” Carroll said. “It’s kind of COVID friendly, because we’re wearing masks and they’re in their vehicles, and they just pull up and pull through. So there’s not much contact. They just open their trunk or tell us they want it in the back door. We put it in and they go on, so that we could serve and still keep our volunteers safe at the same time.”
The food boxes distributed, give a family enough food for three meals a day for seven days with frozen meat, and other necessities for the meals.
Carroll said the current Cause Connector fundraiser can be found online and contains a number of nonprofits, including several from Gallia County. Meigs County organizations are also found there as well.
By going to causeconnector.org, you can search God’s Hands at Work and make a donation for the Gallia County mobile food pantry or go to https://causeconnector.org/project/gallia-county-mobile-food-pantry/.
Donations can also be made to God’s Hands at Work on their website, godshandsatwork.org.
© 2022, Ohio Valley Publishing, all rights reserved.
Brittany Hively is a staff writer for Ohio Valley Publishing. Follow her on Twitter @britthively; reach her at (740) 446-2342 ext 2555.