When Theresa Watson, former receptionist at the Ashland Kroc Center, was asked if she wanted to take the position of Food Pantry Coordinator, the decision was simple: “I love helping people, and I love food, so I said yes!” Since making the transition in October of 2019, Theresa has overseen a surge of activity at the pantry and hopes the community continues to spread the good news of Christ’s love through food.
As the full time coordinator, Theresa balances her time managing food donations—most of which come from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank and local grocery stores—and caring for clients. Anywhere from 10-30 Ashland County residents visit the pantry daily to select the items they need, including plenty of fresh produce, to last for several days.
The pantry has become a first line of defense for people in the community who have fallen on hard times. “We are able to feed people who would normally go hungry,” Theresa says, “and be there for emergency situations in which people literally have no food. We have taken food to people who have no transportation. We have fed hungry people who have no place to go.”
Mothers, in particular, hold a special place in Theresa’s heart, and she is thankful for the opportunity to help them provide for their children. “This morning a woman was sitting here in tears because she had no food,” Theresa explains. “She just moved into town and hasn’t gotten her paycheck yet. Her three-year-old was crying because they were hungry. She called a local church, who sent her here, and she got food for her family.”
Aside from serving individuals, the pantry sponsors a number of food-related programs as well, including a hot meal every weekday in the Community Room, a monthly commodity box for low-income seniors, a summer feeding program for children, and Thanksgiving and Christmas meal assistance. The programs draw large numbers—80-100 people on any given weekday for lunch, and up to 150 kids per day in the summer. Still, Theresa hopes for further opportunities to provide for the needy in Ashland County and wants to spread awareness about the pantry.
“I’ve had people come in who didn’t know we were here,” Theresa says. “We would also like more churches to know what we offer as well. We are showing the community the love of Christ through food, through meeting their physical needs.”« Back to Blog
THE SALVATION ARMY RAY & JOAN KROC CORPS COMMUNITY CENTER
527 East Liberty Street
Ashland, Ohio 44805
Facility Hours: Monday-Friday, 7:30AM-8PM
Sunday Worship: 10AM
Social Services: Monday-Friday, 9AM-3PM
Food Pantry: Monday, 11AM-2PM;