Community Continues To Give In Wake Of Pandemic

Managing Editor

The St. Marys area thrives in times of adversity.

Just ask Agape Ministries, Inc. Executive Director Patti Hamilton.

A few weeks ago, a church group from New Knoxville filled bags worth of food for at-risk children, then the Ohio National Guard helped unload skids of food to fill the food pantry’s shelves and refrigerators, now businesses and individuals are stepping up despite hard financial times because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Recently, Cargill donated $2,500 to Agape, Inc. and a grant Agape applied for through Cargill Global Partnership Funds will match what the corporation gave for a total of $5,000. 

On top of that, Don Glaser, a financial adviser from Prudential in St. Marys, donated $1,000 to the food pantry, with his business matching that for $2,000 total to give Agape $7,000 in donations for at-risk children in St. Marys and other smaller communities in west Auglaize County. 

“What it means for at-risk kids is we have the ability to get more items that are easier for them to cook, those are more of what we call the pot tops,” Hamilton said. “It gives them a little bit more nutritional items in that regard because what we find is we have to find food to allow kids to be able to use the microwave."

Hamilton said the money would fill 800 bags worth of food. 

As part of its summer food program that has been forced to begin sooner than usual because of COVID-19, Agape fills reusable grocery store bags full of food — which can hold about 17 pounds of goods. With the money donated to Agape, Hamilton estimated it would pay for potentially 800 bags of food, nearly 14,000 pounds. One child receives one bag. Each bag costs approximately $6.25, according to Hamilton.

Donations, especially in a time such as now, are important for places such as Agape. Hamilton said the food pantry’s main source of revenue is through its thrift store, which has been closed amid the pandemic and Gov. Mike DeWine’s restrictions, but community members, churches and businesses have stepped up their donations — both monetary and food sources. 

“We have community people who care,” she said. “They truly care about the unfortunate and because of that, we are a little more affluent in that regard.

“It is amazing to see and be a part of it. I see it every day. Any time there is any misfortune of any kind the people in this area in both Auglaize or Mercer County all step up and do what is necessary. And that is how I know it is a great place to live because it is what we see in times of trouble.”

To read the full story, see Wednesday's print edition of The Evening Leader.