CDI food pantry topic for Mingo women

The March meeting of the GFWC Woman’s Club of Mingo Junction held at the Mingo Senior Citizens Center featured a presentation by guest speaker Don Heiss, a volunteer with the Food Pantry at the Cancer Dietary Initiative at the Tony Teramana Cancer Center in Steubenville.

Sharon Cole-Isner, club president, welcomed those in attendance and presided at the meeting where a St. Patrick’s Day theme was observed. She led in opening exercises, and Roetta Lewis gave the opening prayer.

Janet Petrella introduced Heiss, a Steubenville resident and retired employee of the U.S. Postal Service who serves as secretary of the nonprofit CDI food pantry funded by donations.

Established last May, the CDI offers an end-of-the-month food distribution at the center on the third Saturday of the month, helping by-invitation-only center patients. Items are delivered to the homes of patients too ill to come to a distribution or who have no transportation.

Dr. Pervaiz Rahman of the cancer center and his son Harris serve as co-CEOs, according to Heiss, who explained the food pantry was born out of need when Dr. Rahman noted some cancer patients were losing weight in a manner disproportionate to the therapy. He discovered they weren’t eating because there wasn’t enough money to pay for food along with utilities, housing and their portion of medical costs.

Heiss said Dr. Rahman personally funded the beginning of the CDI food pantry to get it off the ground and running.

The third Saturday of each month is distribution day, a time of the month when its recipients might be running low on finances. The CDI food pantry provides food for those families so that they do not have to make a choice between food or other necessities, Heiss said.

The food pantry started out assisting 23 families, a number that has since grown to 47. The program is based on need and is free to the patients and their families.

Funded entirely on donations, the food pantry operates with volunteer help as well, Heiss explained, noting the outreach is blessed with volunteers who include students from Steubenville Catholic Central High School, Edison Local High School, Indian Creek High School and Steubenville High School.

“They all send volunteers on a regular basis, and the students conduct food drives and fundraisers at the school for the CDI pantry,” Heiss said.

The Jefferson County Joint Vocational School in Bloomingdale donates time and talent, too, he said, especially from the multi-media students who have produced fliers. JVS held a “Quarter Frenzy” with 100 percent of the profits going to the CDI, he said.

Heiss said a local design company donates the distribution bags on a regular basis, and the food pantry has volunteers from various churches in the area. It welcomes financial donations.

Club members took up a collection for donation to the CDI food pantry.

The club’s meeting included the election of officers with Joanne Gorney and Roetta Lewis to serve as co-presidents.

Other officers are: first vice president, Cheri Carpico; corresponding secretary, Mary Jane Tiberio; recording secretary and press reporter, Clara Sue Milewsky; treasurer, Kathy Maguschak, assisted by Bernie Carpico, the outgoing treasurer; and director at large, Janet Petrella. The officers will be installed at the May banquet.

Birthdays were acknowledged, and thank-you notes were received from Mingo Social Services, the ALIVE Shelter and the School of Bright Promise.

Petrella gave a report on Legislation Day the club would be hosting.

Cole-Isner reported on the mystery theater dinner set for April 5 at the Knights of Columbus Hall in Mingo. The theme will be “Overture for an Undertaker.” Tickets are $30 per person. For information, call (740) 598-1689; (740) 282-3246; or (740) 282-4195.

The theme of the May banquet will be “Throw Back Thursday,” with plans to be finalized at the April meeting.

Members were reminded that the state convention will be held April 25-27 in Columbus.

Rouse won the door prize.

Members of the Community Service Project, Community Services, served as hostesess. Petrella, chairman, was assisted by Cole-Isner, Rouse and Diana Taylor.

The next meeting will be held April 10 with the conservation department committee in charge of refreshments. Rouse is the chairman.