Volunteer Tina Zebulske holds a box of Homestyle Bakes, a complete meal in a box that was donated to the Hilton Food Shelf. She says that this type of food donation is highly desirable but any kind of canned or boxed food can be used, as long as the expiration date on the container has not been exceeded. Photograph by Walter Horylev.

Food cupboard outreach efforts know no season, needs increase

Tina Zebulske is one of about ten volunteers in the Hilton-Parma area who work at the Hilton Parma Community Council of Churches’ Food Shelf operating out of Abiding Love Free Methodist Church at the corner of Burritt Road and Route 259. She joined the effort a little over two years ago when the Food Shelf was moved there. “It’s been busy; we have lots of clients, but it is sporadic because of the emergency nature of the needs, for instance, we normally service about 10 families a month; in October it was 14,” she said.

“Complete meals in a box are very desirable,” she said. “Our supply is getting better,” she reported. “Two weeks ago our basic foods were gone! We e-mailed the local churches and got a huge response. We also occasionally buy groceries from the Big M, but that’s unusual.”

“Currently we have no extras, but just today the Hilton High School called, I think it’s the cheerleaders who are involved, and they will put on a food drive. Unfortunately, it may take months before we actually receive the food.”

The food shelf organizers are considering scheduling various groups who traditionally sponsor food drives so the efforts are spread throughout the year.

Of course, there still is that sporadic nature of the situation as regards the volume of food needed to meet emergencies.

The Food Shelf looks for canned or boxed food which has a reasonable expiration date; they can’t deliver food that is beyond that date. They also do not handle foods that require refrigeration.

For further information, call the Food Shelf hotline: 585-392-4343. Outreach efforts in other communities are included frequently in information printed in this publication in the Calendar and in articles.

Generally, popular food items include: cereal, complete boxed dinners, canned hash, canned stew, tuna and “Helper,” canned meats, canned soup, juice, peanut butter, jelly, rice, pasta, sauce and macaroni and cheese.

© November 11, 2007 - Westside News Inc.