Looking Back at a Successful Food Pantry Re-Model

The BNOC Food Pantry has a new look!

In case you haven't popped into the Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center Food Pantry lately, we thought we'd catch you up-to-speed on our latest improvement - and it comes in the form of paint!

The last time the BNOC Pantry was painted was when we first opened our doors over 8 years ago. Between scuffs on the walls and fading colors, our pantry was screaming for a fresh look.

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So here's how it all went down:

We posted information at the BNOC and on our website that the pantry would be closed from 6/4/18 - 6/10/18. The Saturday before the closure, old shelves were removed and the room was cleaned. Then, painting began Monday, June 4th. Our esteemed painters came in the form of Matt, Caleb, and Mattie Merendino, as well as Greg Letizia. Paneled walls were painted green and normal walls were painted purple. Walls and trim were finished that Monday.

On Tuesday, Greg painted the floor (grey in color). He also gave the doorways a fresh coat. Then, on Thursday and Friday, Greg painted the freezer room floor.

On Saturday morning - after the paint had dried - Bruce & Craig Hoeflich put together our new shelves. The shelves, which are brown in color, were donated by Jason Potes, owner of Stoodt's Market in Bellville. Jason is also a trustee on the BNOC board.

That same day, at 10:30 AM, 8 volunteers (Linda Rivers, Kevin Dearth, Linda Holben, Dicie Hatten, Loni Muir, Greg Letizia, Craig Hoeflich, and Carol Hoeflich) pitched in and started stocking the new shelves. We were done by 1:30 PM.

A special thanks to all our volunteers, especially Greg Letizia for the incredible amount of painting - we would not have hit our deadline without his help. Also, a special thanks to Bruce and Craig Hoeflich for their hard work, both before the painting, as well as in putting the shelves together after the painting was complete.

We've had great feedback from our visitors on the new, fresh look! Next time you're in the BNOC, let us know what you think of the bright, airy space!

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Please Note New Produce Distribution Time

Our free produce distribution times are changing from now through October 2018.

Please note the new produce distribution time of 10 AM - Noon (rather than 11 AM - 1 PM) for the following produce giveaways:

July 23, 2018
August 27, 2018
September 24, 2018
October 22, 2018

As a reminder, these produce distributions take place in the parking lot across from the Bellville post office (Bell Street).

Please note that photo I.D. is now required. This is a requirement of The Cleveland Food Bank, from whom we receive this free, fresh produce.

Refrigerated Truck Gifted to BNOC

A refrigerated truck will be joining our fleet!

That's right... we now have have a real truck (rather than just a hodgepodge of vehicles) to pick up and transfer donated food from one location to another.

As a partner agency of The Greater Cleveland Food Bank, BNOC was awarded a $50,000 grant from the Walmart Foundation to fund this incredible truck. This generous gift will help us distribute more nutritious food to families-in-need in the Clearfork Valley. We now have the capacity to transport an additional 400,000 pounds of food annually, which includes more than 200,000 pounds of fresh produce.

BNOC and the Food Bank are also working with Catholic Charities Toledo Dioceses and Grace Episcopal Church to provide more fresh food to their feeding programs as well.

A special thank-you to the Walmart Foundation and Cleveland Food Bank for their incredible support in bolstering our operation. We never would have imagined years ago, when handing out food bags from a church closet, that we'd grow into an operation of this capacity. We could not be more grateful for the continued support of our community in reaching out to those in-need.

Check out the video coverage of this special day on WMFD here.

BNOC Announces 2018 Mobile Pantry Schedule

Get ready for some fresh fruits and veggies!

The BNOC Mobile Pantry program - which involves the monthly distribution of free produce from Spring through late Fall - will be kicking off 2018's produce giveaways this April!

This produce distribution is open to the general public. If you could use some help getting your hands on some fresh produce, you've come to the right place. Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center will distribute free produce the 4th Monday of each month starting in April and ending in October, with the exception of the May distribution, which will fall on the 3rd Monday due to Memorial Day.

This year, the produce giveaway dates are as follows (click on a given date for its dedicated event page):

Monday, April 23, 2018
Monday, May 21, 2018
Monday, June 25, 2018
Monday, July 23, 2018
Monday, August 27, 2018
Monday, September 24, 2018
Monday, October 22, 2018

The produce giveaways take place from 11 AM until 1 PM (or until produce is gone) in the parking lot across from the Bellville post office (Bell Street).

Please note that photo I.D. is now required. This is a requirement of The Cleveland Food Bank, from whom we receive this free, fresh produce.

We look forward to seeing you at this upcoming distribution.

Help Fight Local Hunger

BNOC and Meijer partner to provide hunger relief in Bellville, Ohio, through retailer’s Simply Give food pantry donation program.

People in our community continue to struggle every day to pay their bills and put food on their tables. Some are even forced to choose between the two, a heartbreaking decision that no one should have to make. We're pleased to announce that Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center has joined forces with the Meijer Simply Give hunger relief program this holiday to help fill that void for our local families.

Each Simply Give campaign helps more than 230 food pantries in Michigan, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio, Kentucky, and Wisconsin keep their shelves stocked with food for those in need. But it also fosters a sense of community by encouraging customers to purchase $10 Simply Give donation cards, which are then converted into Meijer food-only gift cards and given to the local food pantry selected by the store.

BNOC will benefit from donation cards purchased at the local Meijer (1355 N Lexington-Springmill Rd, Mansfield, OH) now through Dec. 30th, 2017.

We want to encourage you to help us fulfill our mission of helping feed the hungry in Bellville by purchasing a food donation card during your next shopping trip. Tell your friends, relatives, neighbors and co-workers... because every dollar makes a difference.

According to Feeding America, $1 equals 11 meals.

And when we give, Meijer gives. For the sixth consecutive year, Meijer will contribute at least $1 million to the 2017 Simply Give program.

We are very encouraged about this opportunity to serve the hungry in Bellville. So don't forget to purchase a donation card at our local Meijer during your next grocery run!

A Thank-You to Our Volunteers

Volunteer Appreciation Brunch to Become Annual Event

 Pictured: Carol Hoeflich, winner of the  2017 BNOC Volunteer of the Year Award

Pictured: Carol Hoeflich, winner of the 2017 BNOC Volunteer of the Year Award

Today, Bellville Neighborhood Outreach Center recognized all its wonderful volunteers with a volunteer brunch - a special event that we plan to host each year. The brunch was a wonderful gathering of the people who donate their time to make BNOC a special place in our community.

In addition to extending our gratitude to all our volunteers, this year we extended special recognition to 2 former volunteers, Bill Smith and Ruth Griebling. We also recognized current volunteer Ollie Beachley, who is 87 years-young.

Then, we announced that we were going to choose a Volunteer of the Year each year. And the winner of the 2017 Volunteer of the Year Award was... drum roll please... Carol Hoeflich. A special thank-you to Carol for her unwavering dedication to BNOC.

Stay tuned for the 2018 Volunteer Appreciation Brunch. We will likely host this coming brunch on a Saturday morning and close the BNOC so that all our volunteers can attend.

And don't forget to check out the photos below of the 2017 Volunteer Appreciation Brunch!

BNOC Receives Bag of Hope Award

Sometimes awards can be overblown... but this one's special.

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On August 11, 2017, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank held its annual Recognition and Awards Banquet at the Intercontinental Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. The banquet is a special time to recognize the hard work of the hundreds of feeding programs that distribute food sourced from the Greater Cleveland Food Bank.

This year, thanks to the hard work of our leadership and volunteers, BNOC was awarded the Bag of Hope Agency of the Year Award. This is the second time we have received this award, the first being in 2010. The award holds special weight because, as mentioned, the Greater Cleveland Food Bank works with hundreds of feeding programs. So to be recognized by them as the Bag of Hope Agency of the Year tells us we must be doing something right. We would be remiss if we didn't thank our leadership, donors, and volunteers who helped BNOC earn this recognition.

Pictured above (from left to right): Kristen Warzocha (President and CEO, Greater Cleveland Food Bank); Carol Hoeflich (Food Pantry Manager, BNOC); Matt Merendino (President, BNOC); Jessica Morgan (Director of Agency Services, Greater Cleveland Food Bank)

BNOC Featured in IdeaStream News Program

 BNOC volunteers distribute thousands of pounds of produce, as featured in  this IdeaStream news program .

BNOC volunteers distribute thousands of pounds of produce, as featured in this IdeaStream news program.

At our BNOC produce giveaways, we serve thousands of pounds of fresh fruits and vegetables to people who may not know where their next meal is going to come from. Not knowing where your next meal is going to come from is called "food insecurity". Some people, especially in the rural areas surrounding Bellville, have limited access to fresh foods because they are far from a grocery store that serves healthy foods. We call these areas of limited access to healthy foods "food deserts".

We're honored to be featured in IdeaStream's recent piece called Bringing Fresh Fruit - And Hope - To A Rural Food Desert, which touches on the topics of food insecurity and food deserts in rural areas. IdeaStream filmed the BNOC produce giveaway, as well as an interview with BNOC's Carol Hoeflich, on July 24, 2017. The IdeaStream news piece aired on PBS and public radio one month later. Click on the image above to view the video on IdeaStream's website.

BNOC Announces 2017 Produce Distribution Schedule

Spring is in the air...

And that means free fresh produce is on its way. Residents of the Clear Fork Valley who find themselves scraping to get by - and in need of some fresh produce - will be happy to find that they can count on our Mobile Pantry once a month from April through November, 2017. Our Mobile Pantry Schedule for 2017 will be the 4th Monday of each month, starting in April and ending in November. The hours of this free produce distribution are 11 AM until 1 PM, or until produce is gone. People are served on a first come, first served basis. 

Interested in these free monthly produce distributions? Local residents typically start lining up at 9 AM in the parking lot on Bell Street, across from the Post Office.

New this year:

A valid photo I.D. is required. This is a requirement of The Cleveland Food Bank.

This year's produce distribution dates are as-follows:

Monday, April 24, 2017 (see event page)
Monday, May 22, 2017 (see event page)
Monday, June 26, 2017 (see event page)
Monday, July 24, 2017 (see event page)
Monday, August 28, 2017 (see event page)
Monday, September 25, 2017 (see event page)
Monday, October 23, 2017 (see event page)
Monday, November 27, 2017 (see event page)– If weather is bad, we will cancel.

Two More Free Blood Pressure Screenings Announced!

We are very grateful to Ashland University Nursing School for offering 2 more opportunities for free blood pressure screenings and free blood sugar testing at BNOC. Mark your calendars! The following 2 opportunities for free screenings have just been confirmed:

Wednesday, March 22, 2017
12:00 pm – 2:00 pm
Click here for the calendar view of this event.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017
10:00 am – 12:00 pm
Click here for the calendar view of this event.

We are honored to provide services not only related to our clothesline and pantry, but also add-on services that enhance the health and well-being of our community's residents.