Food pantry with a spin now open in Benton County

Benton County is opening a new food pantry with a spin. The Oxford food Co-op invites lower income families to get involved with the community and work and shop for their food. (WLFI).
Benton County is opening a new food pantry with a spin. The Oxford food Co-op invites lower income families to get involved with the community and work and shop for their food. (WLFI).

BENTON COUNTY, Ind. (WLFI) — Benton County is opening a new food pantry with a spin.

The Oxford food co-op had its open house Tuesday, but the co-op’s director, Chris Sheetz, said the idea started about year ago.

Sheetz expressed it was her goal to help low-income families get involved in the community.

The co-op does just that. Instead of clients showing up to receive a free handout of food, members work then shop for their own items.

Sheetz said the first shop is free, but after that it costs $10 a month for one shop a month. Members also have the option to work at the pantry – or any nonprofit in Benton County – for two hours in exchange for a shop.

Deb Shidler, a member of the pantry’s advisory board, said she’s looking forward to her first day on the job this coming Tuesday.

“I’m just excited to help people,” said Shidler. “I’ve been in situations where I’ve needed help and have gotten it from others. I think it’s great we’re able to do it for everybody else too.”

The advisory board for the pantry is made up of eight people, all of whom receive food stamps or Medicaid. The board decides the co-op’s hours, schedule and how it operates.

Sheetz said members need to be eligible for food stamps, WIC Food Vouchers Program, energy assistance or Medicaid. Members also have to be a Benton County resident.