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The following is from a website for a local food pantry here in Columbus, Ohio that specializes in helping to feed and clothe the needy.

St. Stephen’s Community House Food Pantry is in need of the following items:
  • boxed cereals
  • canned vegetables
  • peanut butter
  • rice (white and brown)
  • canned beans (kidney, pinto, great northern, pork & beans and lima beans)
  • tuna fish
  • canned chili
  • dairy (milk, cheese, butter and eggs)
  • hot cereal (oatmeal, cream of wheat and grits)
  • soups (canned and dry)
  • sugar
  • vegetable oil and olive oil
  • We believe these are the essentials and the cornerstone for our pantry to serve our community. Thank you in advance for your ongoing support.

    Well, one of the bartenders at my local watering hole decided to engage a couple of other local establishments in some friendly competition about which place could raise the most canned goods. It only lasted a week or so but thanks to her efforts, our place took in over 1,300 cans of food. There’s probably another thousand cans spread out amongst the competition. They’re collecting them today and dropping them off at the pantry at around noon.

    Thanks to her individual efforts, many people that might have gone hungry over the holidays will be fed.

    This is also another reason I love my neighborhood bar.

    About ten or so years ago us regulars didn’t know if we would have a place to call “home”. A fire truck lost control while making a sharp turn and crashed through the front entrance. While nobody was seriously hurt, the damage to the building was substantial. Most owners probably would have thrown up their hands, pocketed the insurance money and closed the doors for good.

    The owner decided to rebuild. He knew what the place meant to the community and even though it remained closed due to repairs for upwards of six months, the doors were finally re-opened. Since then, the place has sponsored coat drives during the winter, fed people turkey on Thanksgiving and held various fundraisers and made contributions to the Toys for Tots program. In the in betweens the bartender who took up the charge to lead the food drive this year also does something she calls “the charity of the month” for local causes.

    So, the place where we go to celebrate weddings and births, mourn for those we lost and cheer for our beloved Ohio State Buckeyes has become something more than a place for us regulars to hang our hat and bullshit the days and nights away. It’s become a place we take pride in and at times shames us into doing something good that we should have been doing all along.

    If you ask me, that’s a pretty good trade off.

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