Last week Kathy Kelly Long wrote a blog called 7 Lessons I Have Learned at the Broad Street Food Pantry. This week, I asked young adult Broad Streeter Meredith Clay to share what it’s like to be a volunteer in the Food Pantry and why she keeps coming back. Here is what Meredith wrote…


“From the age of seven to seventeen, I have spent hours in the Broad Street Food Pantry. Every year, a few days before Thanksgiving, you will find me in a faded pink apron carrying steaming servings of mashed potatoes and turkey. On weekends and holidays throughout the school year, I pack boxes full of cheerios and canned chicken noodle soup to serve to the downtown Columbus residents in need. The food pantry offers an experience like no other.


Serving hundreds of people a week, the pantry employs up to 20 volunteers a day. Here, we serve many diverse groups, all of whom are facing different circumstances. At the Broad Street Food Pantry, I have had the opportunity to continually make an impact on a community that means so much to me. This food pantry, with all of its lovely volunteers and shoppers, will continue to keep me returning. Filled with fresh produce and overflowing with compassion, the pantry offers a passageway to make genuine relationships with some of the most genuine people. Many encounters at the food pantry are prompted by unfortunate circumstances- homelessness, food insecurity, poverty. However, these circumstances rarely dim the personas of the many people who visit the food pantry. This unyielding positivity, even in the face of adversity, is utterly inspiring and uplifting.


It is this positivity that inspired our youth group to upcycle these old chairs and provide a resting place for those who walk to the pantry.

Designed with bright colors and uplifting quotes, our youth group hoped to further nurture positivity at the food pantry and help to uplift all those who shop there, just as they uplift every volunteer.”


We are so grateful for volunteers like Meredith and the opportunity to Love our Neighbor through the ministry of the Food Pantry, whether it is boxing up corn or painting chairs with uplifting messages. We are grateful for this community.


-Written by Brittany Porch/Meredith Clay

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  1. Linda Van Meter May 18, 2022 at 3:39 pm - Reply

    What great words for all to know how She feels. I love love the painted chairs!

  2. Betty Lou Stull May 18, 2022 at 8:04 pm - Reply

    You effectively share how important this experience has been to you over the years. I’m sure you have impacted those you served just as they have impacted you. As a retired English teacher, I also admire your writing skill. Your teachers would be proud!

  3. Beth Hawthorne May 18, 2022 at 9:42 pm - Reply

    Lovely. Thanks for your good work at the Food Pantry and for your good words in this blog.

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