Thursday, June 27, 2013

Food Pantries Are Berry Grape-ful for Donations of Fresh Produce from Gardeners

As you have read here in 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012,  many Central Ohio food pantries, soup kitchens and shelters are thrilled to receive fresh garden produce to feed their clients. In fact, sometimes, I don’t even make it to the pantry door because I’m intercepted between my car and the pantry when they see fresh greens walking down the street.  Although it’s more problematic to store and display, fresh food is healthier to eat because canned food has a lot of salt and other preservatives. In addition, gardeners can receive a tax deduction for your donation – which will be handy next April.

The federal Bill Emerson Good Samaritan Food Donation Act was enacted in 1996 and provides that donors of “apparently wholesome food or an apparently fit grocery product” cannot be held liable if the donation was made in good faith unless someone is hurt or dies from an action or omission that constitutes “gross negligence or intentional misconduct.” 42 U.S.C. § 1791. This includes gleaners or gardeners who donate fresh produce. It pre-empts any inconsistent state laws.

Here's the most current list:

Lutheran Social Services Food Pantry – South.  1460 South Champion Avenue. (There’s an automatic sliding door at the side of the building  on the Frebis Avenue side where there will be less chance that you’ll be confused as a client and asked to wait in line by the constantly revolving volunteers who staff the pantry. I always go in the side door). They have refrigerators available to store any excess.
Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. until 2:30 p.m. and Saturdays 1-3 pm. I do not recommend stopping by during the lunch hour because the paid staff may be gone and you will be told to wait until they return or to come back later for a receipt.
Will take anything, but eggplant has not been particularly popular with their clients.
Sorting: Preferably sorted, but is not required. Is a good idea to weigh the produce beforehand if you want a receipt. They have a large scale on site in the back that you can use if you’re very nice about it.

Provides tax receipts. Please have it weighed and have the donor’s name and address available in writing. If they run out of receipts, you can have them sign your own. In that case, it's quicker if you bring two copies of your pre-prepared receipt so that they can keep one and you can take one. However, they have a copier there. They also like you to sign their donation book.
Distribution: Clients can help themselves to as much of each type of produce as is available, unless quantities are limited.

For more information: Call Manager Dave Drom, Assistant Manager Amanda or Saturday Manager Gene at 443-5130.   They served 8,411 families last month.

Faith Mission. Donations can be made at two locations.
1) 599 East 8th Avenue near the fairgrounds. Go to the front door.

2) New:  The downtown Shelter has moved from Long and Sixth Streets downtown to 245 North Grant Avenue. Turn north onto Grant Avenue from Broad.  Go through 3 lights (at Gay, Long and Spring).  Drive into the driveway between the second and third building (i.e., around back) on the left and park by the two dumpsters.  There is a loading dock with sliding doors.  If no one is there, ring the bell on the left.  This is the only place in town serving three free meals a day to anyone who walks in.  Last month, Faith Mission served over 22,000 meals.  
Hours: Monday – Sunday 8:00 a.m. until 5:30 p.m.
Will take anything , but don’t need cucumbers.  They would love to receive more red and yellow peppers.
Sorting: Preferably sorted. Is a good idea to weigh the produce beforehand if you want a receipt.
Provides tax receipts. Please have it weighed and have the donor’s name and address available in writing. They have their own forms that they will want to fill out while you wait. They sometimes (i.e., usually) run out of receipt forms, so it’s a good idea to bring your own to have them sign.
For more information: Ask for Mike Vell or any cook in the kitchen. Phone: 774-7726 or the front desk at 224-6617.

**Salvation Army. 966 East Main Street, Columbus, Ohio 43205. This is the closest food pantry to the SACG that I know of. You should park on the side and go to the front door. The pantry is just to the right of the front door. It is very, large, sparkling clean, and relatively empty.
Hours: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.
Will take anything.
Sorting: No need.
Provides tax receipts upon request at the front desk.
Distribution: Clients can help themselves to as much of each type of produce as is available.
For more information, call Case Worker Jerry Salmon at 358-2626 and leave a message, because he almost never answers his phone.

Bishop Griffin Center---St. Vincent de Paul Food Pantry, 2875 E. Livingston Avenue, Columbus, Ohio 43209 -- one block west of James Rd. at the corner of Wellesley Rd. and Livingston. There is parking along Wellesley Road. This pantry is very, very small.
Hours: 9 a.m until noon on Wednesdays and 2 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. on Fridays
Will take anything
Sorting: Does not have to be sorted or bagged.
Provides tax receipts upon request.
For more information, contact Marge at or at 237-0720.
**Community Kitchen. This is the first soup kitchen in Columbus. Donations can be made at the rear of the building at 640 South Ohio Street.
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. and on Saturdays from 8:30 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Will take anything except eggplant, unusual herbs, peas, chard, and turnips. They prefer bulk amounts so that they can make a whole dish out of it. Smith Farms regularly donates food here.
Sorting: Preferably sorted, but need not be bagged.
Provides tax receipts.
For more information: Ask for Marilyn Oberting at 252-6428.

Holy Name Soup Kitchen. Donations can be made at 57 South Grubb Street (off West Broad Street). Go to the front door.
Hours: Monday – Friday 10:00 a.m. until 3:00 p.m. Call from the parking lot after 12:30 because that’s when the doors are locked.
Will take anything they can get.
Sorting:  Please do because they do not have a lot of volunteers.
Provides tax receipts. Can be provided if you wait or it will be mailed to you (if you provide names and addresses).
For more information: Phone: Sharon Wing at 461-9444.  Serving 25 families each day (i.e., 150 people). That’s 900 meals/day for the pantry and 390-400 people/day in the soup kitchen.

***Mid-Ohio Food Bank. Donations can be made at its relatively new location at 3960 Brookham Drive in Grove City. Take I-71 South to the Stringtown Road/Exit 100 and take the very first right after you leave the exit onto Springtown Road onto Marlanne Drive. You will pass Brookham Drive to the left and then turn left past the large Agency sign. Pull up to the four garage doors and go into the regular/entry door to the left of those doors to tell them that you have a produce donation. They will help you unload your car, weigh your produce and give you a receipt.
Hours: Monday – Friday 8:00 a.m. until 4:30 p.m.
Will take anything.
Sorting: Not necessary, but they prefer that the food be delivered in banana boxes (which you can get from your friendly local grocer) or empty copy paper boxes.
Provides tax receipts. MOFB will weigh your donation on the spot and give you a receipt.
For more information: Call Lori Coleman at 274-7770.

Lutheran Social Services West Side Food Pantry, 82 North Wilson Road.  This is in the Great Western Shopping Center.
Hours: Monday – Friday, 9:00 until 4:00 P.M.
Will take: anything and everything
Sorting: Not necessary
Provides tax receipts: Yes
For more information: Call Jan at 279-4635.   They serve 80 families every day.
**Our Lady of Guadalupe Center. This is a food pantry at 441 Industry Drive, Columbus, Ohio 43204. This is a little tricky because there is no street sign. It is located in the Valley View Commerce Park of office buildings. It is a one-story, long white building across the street from the ODFJS West Opportunity Center.
Hours: Wednesday– Thursday 9:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Tuesdays: 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Will take anything.
Sorting: Preferably sorted and bagged separately.
Provides tax receipts. You’ll have to fill out the receipt yourself, so it would be a good idea to weigh your produce before dropping it off.
For more information or to schedule a drop-off: Call Alma Santos at 340-7061. The population served by the Center is mostly Latino and Hispanic.

LifeCare Alliance a/k/a Meals on Wheels a/k/a Groceries To Go a/k/a Cancer Clinic a/k/a Project Open Hand. Life Care Alliance has recently consolidated the food pantry operations of the Cancer Clinic and Project Open Hand (which serves the HIV community). It also runs Congregational Dining Centers and Carrie’s Café for ambulatory senior citizens (who do not yet need meals on wheels). Donations can be made 670 Harmon Avenue. Use the pantry entrance between the two handicapped parking spaces. It’s best to call ahead.
Hours: Monday, Wednesday – Friday 9:00 a.m. until 4:00 p.m. (There are staff there on Tuesdays, but they are usually stocking shelves and unloading trucks).
Will take anything.
Sorting: Not necessary, but helpful and they prefer that it be washed
Provides tax receipts. Will mail receipts. At drop off, donations should be identified by donor's name and address, product being donated and weight of each product.
For more information: Contact Maurice Elder or Chuck Walters at 670 Harmon Avenue, Columbus, OH 43223 at 298-8334.

NNEMAP Food Pantry. 1064 North High Street, Columbus, Ohio. (In the Short North. In an abandoned Church at the corner of High and Third). It is in the basement of the same building of Directions for Youth. When coming from the parking lot (which is on the north side of the building), you can take a door to the basement on the east side of the building which does not have a number or butterfly on it. There is a white bell on this door on the east side of the building which you can ring for assistance, but you should come down to the basement on the west side of the building).
Hours: Monthly 1st-19th: M-W-F 8:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m. Monthly 20th-31st: M-F 8:45 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.
Will Take: anything. Eggplant moves slower than most items.  Corn, cucumbers, peppers, carrots and tomatoes move quickly.
Sorted: Not necessary, but it would be nice to have it bagged and sorted.
Provides tax receipts: Upon request. Please have value ready to be inserted.
For more information: Contact Roy Clark (an old friend) at 297-0533 or They served about 11,000 families last year.  They have a MOFB employee come twice/week to sign up new families for government benefits.  Right now, they have a special need for hygiene items (like toothpaste) and baby food.
**Broad Street Presbyterian Food Pantry, 760 East Broad Street (at the corner of Broad and Garfield -- about 2 blocks east of I-71. There is parking in the back).
Hours: 9- noon Monday through Friday (but arrangements can be made to open at 8 a.m.) and on Saturdays from 8:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Will take: anything, especially greens and tomatoes
Sorted: not necessary
Provides tax receipts upon request
Distribution: Clients can help themselves to as much of each type of produce as is available.
For more information: call Cathy at 203-2544. The pantry serves approximately 700 families/month (which is an increase over 2011).

Neighborhood Services, Inc. 1950 North Fourth Street (at the corner of 18th Avenue).
Hours: Monday – Thursday 9:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.
Will take: anything
Sorted: not necessary, but is helpful
Provides tax receipt: yes
For more information: Contact Martin Butler at 297-0592 or This pantry served 237 families (i.e., 451 people) last month.  They are adding another zip code to their service area in July (i.e., anticipate about a 12% increase in families). Families can take as much fresh produce as they want.   Martin is a square foot gardener and will try to make arrangements to be there for off-hour donations if you call his cell at 565-2399. He really, really wants fresh produce for his clients.

R.J. Hairston Community Outreach Pantry. 1441 Brentnell Avenue.
Hours: 6:00-7:30 p.m. on Tuesdays and 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. on  second and fourth Saturdays.
Sorted: Not necessary.
Provides tax receipts upon request.
For more information, call Michelle Moody at 252-6228.

This list is not exhaustive and will be updated as additional information is provided. Feel free to let me know if you have information about other organizations which take garden produce and I will add them. You can find additional Central Ohio pantries on the Ample Harvest website.
** means I have not been able to reach anyone to update the information since 2012.

1 comment:

  1. Great source of information -- thank you for listing and providing to Columbus area gardeners.