Williamstown Welfare League gives assistance

Editor’s Note: This is the next in a series of articles about the member agencies of the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley.

WILLIAMSTOWN – Since the 1960s the Williamstown Welfare League has been helping provide for the needy in the area served by Williamstown High School.

Jay Offenberger, president of the league’s board, said there is a core group of 75 volunteers that do the work of the league.

“We have no salaried individuals,” he said. “It is open to any business, church or other fraternal organizations to help those in the Williamstown High School district,” he said.

Offenberger said the league raises money and has food drives to run a food pantry and supply limited financial help for utilities. The programs are limited to those in the Williamstown school district.

In addition to money raised, the Williamstown Welfare League received $4,000 from the United Way Alliance of the Mid-Ohio Valley. Those funds were for emergency food, utility assistance, fuel, medication and school supplies.

United Way funding is about 35 percent of annual revenue, Offenberger said.

Once one signs up to be a client, they can come once a month, the third Saturday, to pick up food from the food bank. At times, he said, the league can help with utility shut-off notices, depending on the league’s finances.

“We have 2,560 clients enrolled and we give away 85 boxes of food a month,” he said. “They can have food for between one individual and 10 in a family. We also pack special boxes for diabetics and birthday bags for their birth month and give away back-to-school items for children. There are also special boxes for Thanksgiving and Christmas with a turkey and hams and gift cards to Dollar General Store; usually the card is no more than $20.”

In addition to the food and utility help, the league has provided a hot meal for transient persons who do not have to meet the requirement of living in the Williamstown school district

Offenberger said the volunteers pick up food from the food bank and unpack it at the food pantry; then on the third Friday the volunteers pack boxes to give out on the third Saturday between 8:15 a.m. and 9:15 a.m. at the food pantry. It is located in the alley behind Williamstown Elementary School.

“We are mainly a food provider and we just try to make sure no one in the school district goes hungry,” he said.

In addition to Offenberger, other officers are Karen Fenton, vice president, who runs the food pantry, treasurer Mary Jo Kinney and secretary Kathy Marshall.