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Volunteers Help the Brecksville Pantry Help the Community

Donations will be collected for the pantry at the shredding day on Saturday.

Once a month, a group of volunteers gathers in the lower level of the to pack up food for families in need.

The regular group of volunteers helps out at the the third Wednesday of every month. The pantry only distributes food once a month, so the volunteers are needed to help divvy up that month’s donations for each family in the program. If a family expresses need, they can take part.

The volunteers don’t know who the families are, but they have guidelines for dividing the food and toiletries so that each family gets enough—they account for the fact that some families have more members, or that some may have more adults or more children.

The packages usually include staples like pasta and soups, as well as fresh bread, meat and juice.

“Every little bit helps them,” said volunteer Betty Rogers.

The program has grown over time as need in the community has grown, said longtime volunteer Yo Alexander. When she started about 20 years ago, there were only six or seven families signed up. In April, there were 21.

Brecksville is a generous community, said volunteer Sandy Crites. Rogers agreed, adding that people who are involved with the Human Services Center are often encouraged to bring canned goods when they take part in an activity, like a game of cards.

And the city’s help, too. Residents are invited to bring their sensitive documents to the city’s municipal parking lot near the to be shredded for free. In exchange, they’re asked to bring non-perishable food items for the pantry.

The next shredding day will take place from 9 a.m. until 12 p.m. on Saturday. Guidelines are available on the Service Department’s website. The department is also collecting items for Habitat for Humanity at that time. Those details are also available on the site.

Laura Kalinowski, who oversees the pantry, said in an email that they are in need of jelly, peanut butter, canned fruit, soup and cereal this month.

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