Fundraiser to aid Gospel Mission Food Pantry

MARIETTA — The number of visitors to the Gospel Mission Food Pantry last week was 465 men, women and children. That is an enormous number of people coming in to ask for food, toiletries and other basic necessities, according to Candy Waite, who runs the food pantry with husband, Jeff.

“That is a larger number than usual and I know that it’s just going to keep growing as we go into the holidays,” Waite said.

Donations to the Gospel Mission were down last month but a group of community members hopes to change that with a spaghetti dinner fundraiser to be held today at Evergreen Community Center.

The event will be held from 4 to 8 p.m. and will include spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad, bread and dessert, as well as a country store, door prizes, a silent auction and musical entertainment.

“We’ll have some speakers and folks singing and it’s going to be a pretty big deal,” said Steve Morris, a parishioner of Evergreen Bible Church in Reno who has helped organize the event. “We hope to raise $10,000 for the food pantry because Candy and Jeff don’t charge for anything. They’ve made this their life’s work and they work really hard to make sure no one goes without.”

Waite said it is heartbreaking to see children come in after school in search of something to eat.

“We are really in need of items like peanut butter, mac and cheese, ramen noodles … things that are easy for kids to make at home by themselves,” she said.

Morris said he has seen firsthand people standing in line on Wednesdays waiting to get something to eat or some needed clothes.

“I’ve seen 60 to 75 people standing out there,” he said. “This is important to me because there are people I’ve met and people I know in my own life who are struggling. There are so many people in this area who don’t have much to eat.”

Don Schafer, another one of the event’s organizers, said he will be preparing his famous spaghetti sauce and no one will be turned away to eat at the event. Donations will be accepted.

“As long as I’m healthy and able to do this, we’ll do it every year,” he said.

The pantry is located at 309 Lancaster St., and is open on Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Arrangements can be made outside of those hours if needed.

“We thank the community that we don’t have to ask for any kind of documentation to help people; we will help whoever God sends through our door,” Waite said.

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If You Go

*What: Spaghetti Dinner fundraiser for Gospel Mission Food Pantry

* When: 4 to 8 p.m. today

* Where: Evergreen Community Center, behind Hadley Funeral Home in Reno

* Details: Homemade spaghetti sauce and pasta, bread, salad and dessert; door prizes, country store, silent auction and entertainment

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Gospel Mission Food Pantry

* Location: Harmar Community Center, 309 Lancaster St., Marietta

* Phone: 740-350-4417

* Hours: Wednesday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. If you are in need of food before each Wednesday call to make arrangements to get food and clothing

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Most-Needed Items at the Pantry

* Cereal

* Toilet paper

* Soup and canned vegetables

* Ramen noodles and spaghetti

* Mac and cheese

* Peanut butter

* Flour and sugar

* Shampoo and dish detergent

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