Lewis County Food Pantry opened Tuesday in their new location on Court Avenue, which was previously the gifted classroom owned by the Lewis County Board of Education.
“Hopefully we can serve more people, we really love helping people in the county. It is also really nice to have everything in one location. It will probably be an easier and faster process to distribute food now,” said Food Pantry Director Charlene Sprouse.
Lewis County Family Resource Network Director Deanna Bush Palmer said that the FRN started looking for a new location in January, to accommodate their growing programs.
“A year and a half ago we had two part-time employees, now we have 10, plus the volunteers,” said Palmer.
The FRN was informed that the Lewis County Board of Education was going to be selling or leasing their building that was previously used for gifted. Palmer went to the BOE and asked if they decide to lease the building that the FRN would be interested.
As a result, the BOE and FRN entered into a five year lease together.
“It just makes sense and is a good fit because over half of our programs benefit the Lewis County School System and the children,” said Palmer.
The new building will house the LC Food Pantry, FRN employees and Parents as Teachers program.
“We hope this allows us to continue with serving 20 to 25 more families each month,” said Palmer about the food pantry.
Currently the LC Food Pantry serves about 280 families, which totals about 700 people.
Another hope for the new space is to start a music group that is similar to kinder music, if it peaks enough community interest according to Palmer.
Palmer also said that truck deliveries will be simplified now, because the trucks will not have to park in a small alley and there will be more adequate room to unload skids of food.
In addition to the Food Pantry opening on Tuesday at the new location, the FRN will open at the same location on next Monday.
“We are really thankful for Hunter Bennett and his daughter Phoebe, for allowing us to use space we had for many years and for them being so community oriented and supportive of us,” said Palmer.
On May 1, the FRN also opened their first satellite location in Buckhannon at the Upshur Business Center, which now houses the Upshur home visitation program.
The site will be the testing location to see if satellite offices will benefit the FRN. If the location is a success the FRN hopes to implement offices in Lewis County as well.
“We think this will be helpful for us to sit down and talk to people about our programs who aren’t able to get to Weston,” said Palmer.
Palmer said that they hope to determine the success of the satellite location within 18 months.
“It helps to have responsible employees who have heart and desire for serving the county,” said Palmer.
Another addition that the FRN announced is an additional stop for the summer food bus which will be at Lewis County Park, beginning June 21, at 12:40 p.m. The bus will have lunch, free wifi and books for children.
“We are really excited to expand and serve Lewis County better than before,” said Palmer.