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Interview: Shanon Chaput, Mason Food Pantry Volunteer

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The Mason Food Pantry in Ohio has seen increased demand for food assistance in recent years. (courtesy Mason Food Pantry)

The Mason Food Pantry in Ohio has seen increased demand for food assistance in recent years. (courtesy Mason Food Pantry)

Hunger may be closer to your doorstep than you think. There are over 50 million Americans who suffer from hunger according to Feeding America.

This crisis can show up in any community. Volunteers play a large role in helping food pantries cope with the increasing need for help.

In the following interview, Shanon Chaput, a volunteer at the Mason Food Pantry in Southwest Ohio, shares her story about getting involved in the fight against hunger.

Tell us about the community where your food pantry is located.

The Mason Food Pantry is located at 406 Fourth Avenue in Mason, Ohio. People think of Mason as a very wealthy town and are surprised that the city actually has people in need of food assistance.

What is the level of hunger in the Mason area?

Quoting the Mason Food Pantry website: “In December 2008 the pantry served 247 people. In December of 2012 the pantry served 667 people.” These numbers represent the month of December, not the calendar year.

How did you decide to become a volunteer at the Pantry?

I chose to be a volunteer at the Mason Food Pantry because my kids were in high school and had their driver’s licenses and really didn’t need me to drive them around as much as I did when they were younger.

Tell us about some of the people who rely on the Pantry. What is their story?

Unfortunately some of the people who come to the food pantry are victims of their own poor decisions. Many more however are desperate for help because they have been fighting cancer and other ailments and have prescription medications that sap every spare penny. There are a lot of elderly people who frequent the pantry and I often wonder if their families know about their predicament.

How can someone help the Mason Food Pantry?

There are a variety of ways people can assist the food pantry. A food drive through their place of employment or church is most typical. Others donate overflow from their summer gardens or prefer to make cash donations. For more information on holding a food drive or making a donation you can contact the director Gina Brown by phone at 513-754-0333 or by email at info@masonfoodpantry.org

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About William Lambers

William Lambers is the author of several books including Ending World Hunger: School Lunches for Kids Around the World. This book features over 50 interviews with officials from the UN World Food Programme and other charities discussing school feeding programs that fight child hunger. He is also the author of Nuclear Weapons, The Road to Peace: From the Disarming of the Great Lakes to the Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, Open Skies for Peace, The Spirit of the Marshall Plan: Taking Action Against World Hunger, School Lunches for Kids Around the World, The Roadmap to End Global Hunger, From War to Peace and the Battle of Britain. He is also a writer for the History News Service. His articles have been published by newspapers including the Cincinnati Enquirer, Des Moines Register, the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Buffalo News, San Diego Union Tribune, the Providence Journal, Free Lance-Star (VA), the Bakersfield Californian, the Washington Post, Miami Herald (FL), Chicago Sun-Times, the Patriot Ledger (MA), Charleston Sunday Gazette Mail (WV), the Cincinnati Post, Salt Lake Tribune (UT), North Adams Transcript (MA), Wichita Eagle (KS), Monterey Herald (CA), Athens Banner-Herald (GA) and the Duluth News Journal. His articles also appear on History News Network (HNN) and Think Africa Press. Mr. Lambers is a graduate of the College of Mount St. Joseph in Ohio with degrees in Liberal Arts (BA) and Organizational Leadership (MS). He is also a member of the Feeding America Blogger Council.