Posted July 11, 2022
Asking for help is something many people struggle with, especially when it involves asking for food assistance. Catholic Charities Medina County's Help Yourself Shelf may be able to settle those nerves.
In 2016, President and CEO Patrick Gareau challenged each county to do something in honor of what the Pope designated the "Holy Year of Mercy". In response, Medina County started its food shelf to support the community.
What makes this shelf different is that those who would like to make use of the shelf do not need to provide any additional information.
"Feed the hungry; Jesus did not say you need to prove it," Director of Medina County Michelle Kipfstuhl said.
The shelf is there for everyone regardless of financial status. It is there to help those long-term or temporarily.
"A man lost his job in the trades because he needed knee surgery. During his time of recovery, he needed help, so he utilized the shelf for assistance. When he was able to get back on his feet, he then became a donor to the shelf to help others." Kipfstuhl said.
The Help Yourself Shelf offers more than food. Individuals can get items that they cannot get with food benefits like diapers, wipes, and feminine hygiene products.
"For me, it's a pro-life ministry to help young families," Kipfstuhl said,
The help doesn't just stop there. The Medina County office not only wants to help feed those in need, but they also want to get to know those on a personal level.
One gentleman would come in weekly to get a dessert after Giant Eagle dropped off their baked goods. He is now in a nursing home, but that doesn't stop him from visiting the staff every now and then.
Another time, someone who would use the food shelf was about to have surgery and had asked the staff if they could help get 5 rosaries for each of their children. Kipfstuhl and her team began to search and were able to successfully get the rosaries.
The office has also been making connections with other local organizations to help spread the word about the work Catholic Charities does.
For example, United Way donates $5,000 a year to help keep the food shelf up and running.
There is also a plant bed at the Community Garden in Medina for the office to have fresh produce on the shelf. Member of the Advisory Council, Liz O'Grady loves gardening and is in charge of the bed.
The Medina office is allowing donations to the shelf Monday through Friday from 9 am to 5 pm.
They ask for items that are not expired and that people cannot usually get with food benefits. The only items they cannot take are those that can be considered medicine like Tylenol.
Here are some example items Medina County can take:
- Toilet paper
- Feminine hygiene items
- Granola bars
- Fruit cups
- Canned chicken, tuna, etc.
- Pasta sauce
Can't bring your donations to the office? Feel free to donate to our Help Yourself Shelf through our Amazon Wish List!
For more information, please contact Michelle Kipfstuhl at 330.723.9615 extension 20 or email email@example.com.