New pantry location raises some concerns
Upon hearing the news of Marietta’s food pantry being relocated, many people might have had the same reaction to the location: Wow, that’s really out there.
The new site in the Broughton complex on Ohio 821 isn’t that far if you have a reliable automobile. But for those who rely on the food pantry and also have to rely on their feet, a bicycle, or a ride from a friend to get there, the new location could be a real problem.
Public transportation doesn’t look like it will be a big help. There will be one opportunity per week, on Thursdays, to take the Community Action Bus Line to the pantry. It’s mid-morning, on a weekday, and gives people only 40 minutes from when they are dropped off to when they must be picked up and returned to the Washington County Courthouse.
It’s safe to say we have concerns about the location.
That doesn’t mean we don’t see the great benefits that also come along with this new spot. The increase in space and capacity for food storage will be extremely helpful for those who operate the pantry. There is ample parking and greater handicapped accessibility. All of these things are important, and we know it can be impossible to find a location that has every single thing on the wish list, particularly on a budget.
It’s great that this site has more space and access than the former pantry at the First Congregational Church on Front Street, but is the pantry as available to those who need it?
Those who run the pantry know their clientele and their needs better than we do, but we would imagine that clientele is always shifting as well. Many people who use the pantry find themselves in a sudden emergency after a job loss or due to expensive medical bills.
We hope this new location works out for the 7,000 people a year who use this pantry. But we also hope that if the outside-city-limits site becomes a roadblock for those in need, that it can be reconsidered. We’re not privy to the lease information but we hope there is some flexibility there–just in case.