Brown Bag Food Project

Student potters filled with enthusiasm for Empty Soup Bowl Fundraiser

By DAVID DUPONT  BG Independent News John Balistreri, head of the ceramics area at Bowling Green State University, makes it very clear: The clay program’s involvement in the Empty Soup Bowl project was the students’ idea. He wasn’t at the Clay Club meeting when the idea came up. And when he was told the students wanted to do it, he drew a hard line. This was a busy time for the studio. “This place is going around the clock,” he said. The students had to committed to create the hundreds of soup bowls — “beautiful bowls that people will want to use” — needed for the event. They also had to be learning something along the way. “It’s up to them to pull it off right,” he said. The students convinced him they would. Emma Robinson works on glazing a bowl. The Artists vs. Hunger: Empty Soup Bowl Fundraiser will be presented from Saturday, April 13, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Wood County Historical Center and Museum. The sale of the bowls for $15 each as well as the good will offering for the soup to fill them will benefit the Brown Bag Food Project. Megan Messer is the student who proposed the idea. Now working on her Bachelor of Arts in ceramics with a minor in community art, she started as an education major. As part of that program she volunteered at Brown Bag. She was impressed by the locally grown effort to address food insecurity. The project provides groceries to tide people in need over until they can get more permanent help. She met Marissa Muniz, a Brown Bag board member and publicist for the museum, while volunteering. Messer came up with the idea of staging an Empty Soup Bowl fundraiser. “It was exciting,” she said. “It could bring us out into the community more, and help a good cause.” Empty Bowl events are held around the country. One of Messer’s classmates, David Rummel, from Bryan, participated in a similar effort back home that was organized by potter Brandon Knott. The project, he said, “is not too terribly hard. It’s a great way to raise funds for a good cause.” Emma Robinson, another student in the ceramics studio, agreed. She said she was on board as soon as the idea was brought up in the Clay Club meeting.  Artists sometimes can be insulated making their work in their studios. “It’s nice to use our skills to reach other communities, and give back,” she said. She added that the project also is a good way to rally the students involved around a common goal. Balistreri is always pushing the students to increase their production, and this will force them to do that, Robinson said. “They’re learning how to make pots, the rhythm of it,” Balistreri said. David Rummel with bowls he’s made. The potters are using the project to experiment with applying a variety of glazes. When Balistreri was convinced the students were committed, he said he’d throw 50 bowls himself — but the students would have to glaze them. They expect to create about 400. Rummel said he was attracted to pottery because it create objects that people will use. “They’ll have it in the cupboard. It’s a way to share myself with someone else. It’s very spiritual.” Bowls waiting to be fired.



Photographers feel money should be no object in capturing family memories

By. DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Alyssa Stahl has been sponsoring a family for Christmas for the past several years. This year the professional photographer has decided to give her philantrophy a different look. Stahl said she follows a number of other photographers on social media and she was inspired by Jeremy Cowart, a photographer and activist, who sets up his gear in low income neighborhoods to take portraits of the residents. So this year, Stahl to put her photographic skills to work through The Memories Project.  Stahl and two other photographers, China Parry and Katie Heuerman will set up shop at three locations on the grounds of the Wood County Historical Center on Saturday, Nov. 10 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. They will take photos of families or individuals who couldn’t otherwise afford to get pictures taken.  The event is a collaboration with the Brown Bag Food Project, which will help spread the word and line up participants. Those wishing to make an appointment should call Brown Bag at (419) 960-5345. They will receive a CD with several images, and a photo release that will give them permission to get the portraits reprinted. The CDs will be available at Brown Bag’s office at 115 W. Merry Ave., Bowling Green. “This is a way to help multiple families,” Stahl said. “It doesn’t have to be a family. It could be elderly person. Just anyone who wouldn’t have the means to get that done,” Stahl said. Her love of people is what led her to take up photography. She grew up in Liberty Center. Her mother and her aunt did sports photography for local papers.  Stahl said she got started manipulating photos using Photoshop and doing digital design. She attended Bowling Green State University to study graphic design. While at BGSU seven years ago, she started taking photos, especially of families and friends. Four years ago she started her own business Alyssa Danielle Photography and Design. “It’s really cool to do a wedding or watch somebody’s kid grow up and to take pictures over a period of time and capture their personalities,” Stahl said. “It’s just nice to have that updated picture of themselves. People don’t take pictures that often and don’t think about it until something happens,” she said. “Being able to give that to somebody is heartwarming.”


Volunteers needed to help MLK Day of Service food drive extend its reach

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Martin Luther King Day of Service “Can”vas Food Drive hopes to extend its reach. Now in its 10th year, organizer Amy Jo Holland, of the Brown Bag Food Project, said she’d like to reach the homes throughout town. That means putting out a call for volunteers, about 300 is what she thinks will be needed. The food drive will be held Saturday, Jan. 13, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday, Jan. 14, noon to 4 p.m. Last year, Holland said, the canvassers covered the north side of the city and some of the south. “We hope this year we can cover it all.” Volunteer sign up is just getting underway. The organizers have started reaching out to groups at Bowling Green State University as well as community groups. Holland is well aware of people’s reluctance to commit, but is confident as the date nears community members will enlist. Some volunteers will hang back at the collection site, Grounds for Thought, and help sort the food that comes. That means setting aside items beyond their sell-by dates. As long as they are not too old, some pantries can still use those. Most of the volunteers will join small teams of canvassers going door-to-door through Bowling Green neighborhoods collecting non-perishable food and others necessities. Especially needed are peanut and jelly, tuna, and canned meats. They are also collecting hygiene items, baby formula, wipes, and diapers, and pet food. This year seven food shelters will share in the bounty. Those benefiting are: Brown Bag Food Project, the Christian Food Pantry, and pantries operated by St. Aloysius, St. Thomas More, St. Mark’s Lutheran, Broken Chains, and First United Methodist Church. Each received about 30 boxes of food last year. “For us it’ll maintain us through May,” Holland said of Brown Bag. It certainly will not meet all the food needs of the 300 people a month Brown Bag helps, but it’ll provide an essential core of the food deliveries, and means the project will have to buy less to meet the need. The food drive was started in 2009 in the wake of the election of Barack Obama. Some of his supporters wanted to sustain the energy of the campaign through community service. Brown Bag decided to continue it several years ago. Brown Bag has its niche. It provides short-term emergency food supplies with the minimum of paperwork. Other pantries have other niches, so it’s natural for them to work together. “There are people they get that we don’t get,” Holland said. “The ultimate goal is to make sure people are getting fed.”


Golf carts must pass inspections to be on city streets

By JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN BG Independent News   Bowling Green residents who like to drive golf carts on city streets may soon be able to do so legally. The first step in the process was accomplished Monday evening when City Council passed an ordinance regulating under-speed vehicles. The next step must be taken by the golf cart drivers, whose vehicles must pass an inspection process. As of Jan. 1, a state law deemed it illegal to operate under-speed or utility vehicles on public streets unless they are registered, Municipal Administrator Lori Tretter told City Council on Monday evening. The city ordinance will allow the golf carts on city streets with speed limits of 25 mph, except for Main and Wooster streets. The inspection program has been set up with the local police division. The vehicles must have proper brakes, lights, turn signals, tires, windshield wipers, steering, horns and warning devices, mirrors, exhaust systems, windshields and seat belts. Once an inspection is passed, the golf cart or other slow-moving vehicle can be registered and titled just like other vehicles. Stickers indicating registration will have to be placed on the carts. Police Chief Tony Hetrick said after the council meeting that two inspection events will be scheduled for golf carts. After that, the police will do inspections by appointment only. Also on Monday evening, council passed an ordinance authorizing the trade of property with First Presbyterian Church, and the donation of land to the Wood County Committee on Aging to be used for a new senior center. Former city administrator Colleen Smith praised council for its decision to donate the property for the senior center. “Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said. Smith mentioned the work of the committee on aging, including the serving of more than 850 meals a day and services that are “absolutely marvelous.” In other business, two city firefighters were promoted. Jim Ritterbach, who has been with the department for 22 years, was promoted to lieutenant. Lucas Ward, who has been with the department for 17 years, was sworn in as a captain. A couple awards were also presented to local citizens Monday evening. The Bowling Green Human Relations Commission recognized the Brown Bag Food Project for its efforts to end food insecurity in the community. Marcy St. John, a member of the commission, noted that nearly 15 percent of Wood County residents don’t have reliable access to affordable, nutritious food. Amy Holland was honored for starting the project after she noticed that several of her co-workers at Walmart did not always have a meal a break time. So she started making brown bag lunches and passing them around. Soon others joined in the effort. Today, 300 people a month receive food from the organization which now has an office at 115 W. Merry Ave., Suite B. Also honored at the meeting was the Bicycle Spokesperson of the Year, by the city bicycle safety commission. Meg Ramlow received the award on behalf of her late husband, Eric, who was killed in a bike-auto accident. The city recently participated in the “Ride of Silence” in Eric Ramlow’s memory. In other business, council member Bruce Jeffers reported on continuing efforts of the Welcoming BG task force. The city has passed a resolution supporting immigrants in the community, so now efforts are underway on how that can be accomplished. Jeffers said cities that adopted similar resolutions are being studied. The Bowling Green task force is also focusing on the economic implications of being a “welcoming” city. Jeffers also reported on the city’s community action plan. The consultants working…


Brown Bag Food founder, Amy Holland, honored as Hometown Hero

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News Thursday was a good day for the Brown Bag Food Project, an endeavor that is usually the group doing good. At a Bowling Green Chamber of Commerce Business After Hours social, Brown Bag received two checks generated by the ACT BG’s recent Amazing Race fundraiser. The check from ACT BG was for just over $4,800, and the Modern Woodman matched $2,500 of those funds. Then Nathan Eberly, a member of the Brown Bag board and a Modern Woodman rep, surprised Brown Bag founder Amy Holland with a Hometown Hero award. “All this is because of what you do,” Eberly said. Her work inspired him to join the effort. The honor came with a $100 check for the charity of her choice, and there was little doubt what that would be. As usual Holland had little to say. She lets her actions speak for her. She got into action starting Brown Bag in early 2016. She learned that some of her fellow workers at Walmart were having trouble feeding themselves and their families some because they were out on medical leave. She took it upon herself to buy a few bags of food and deliver it to them. That has grown into a project that provides parcels of food to more than 300 people a month. Holland said that’s 60-70 families. The parcels have a value of about $60. The idea is to provide emergency food assistance to tide people over for five days, though often the parcels can last as long as a week, until they can seek assistance elsewhere. The food is given with minimal paperwork and questions. People are eligible for a parcel every six months, though that’s stretched in some extreme cases. And at the end of each week, clients can stop by for additional bread and sweet goods donated by the Panera restaurants in Bowling Green and Perrysburg and Jimmy John’s in BG. Peg Holland, the founder’s mother who is on the board, said she’s not surprised by her daughter’s actions. She remembers when Amy was in second grade at Crim. She sought out a girl everyone was ignoring and played with her. Her classmates told her if she played with that girl they wouldn’t play with her. She reported this to her mother who told her: “You play with anyone you want. “She’s always had a big heart, and I’m so proud of her,” Peg Holland said of her daughter. Brown Bag started out operating out of Peg Holland’s home. In November the charity moved into its new home on West Merry Street. That allowed Brown Bag to receive federal surplus food items from the SeaGate Food Bank of Northwest Ohio. Those can be lots of shredded cheese this month or chickens last month. Fresh blueberries were a bonus this month. Most of Brown Bag’s food comes from individual donations. Usually, Peg Holland said, the project uses its cash donations to buy the fresh products, vegetables fruits, milk, eggs, and meat as well as personal, including feminine, hygiene products, and diapers. Heather Paramore, a board member, noted that Brown Bag makes a point of providing people the ingredients to make full meals, not a random selection of canned goods. Brown Bag has worked with nutrition students at Bowling Green State University to assess what’s being given, and to develop recipes. Right now the project is stockpiling dried beans, which most people don’t use, to give to the migrant workers who arrive in the summer. Peg Holland said they try to provide them with the food they are accustomed to…


MLK food drive canvasses BG neighborhoods

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service “Can” vass Food Drive matched last year’s haul of food and other necessities despite being short-handed. The drive coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project, could have use three times the crew of volunteers to cover all the neighborhoods in the city. Still, Amy Jo Holland, Brown Bag founder, said those people reached were generous. Very few reached said no. The drive gather between 60-70 boxes of food. By late afternoon those goods, non-perishable food, hygiene items and paper goods were being boxed up to be distributed by the six organizations that will share the bounty. In addition to Brown Bag, the other organizations benefitting are: First United Methodist Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran, Broken Chains, St. Thomas More, and BG Christian Food Pantry.  Each will receive 10 to 12 boxes. That should be enough for a couple months, she said. In divvying up items, Holland said, attention is paid to the kind of service provided. Broken Chains, she said, works with the homeless, so it received all the trial size hygiene items and single serving and ready to eat food items. Homeless folks don’t have can openers, she noted. Larger, bulk foods went to St. Mark’s and First United Methodist because they serve meals. Holland said 60 volunteers showed up to work. Some stayed on for more shifts than they had signed up for. Next year, she said, Brown Bag may extend the drive, which ran on Saturday and Sunday, to Monday. That way they could better coordinate with Bowling Green State University’s Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service. As it is some students are going over the Brown Bag’s facility on Monday to help sort items gathered in the food drive.


MLK food drive needs help to reach all corners of BG

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News More volunteers are needed so the annual BG Martin Luther King Jr. Day of Service Food Drive reach out to more households throughout Bowling Green. The drive to collect non-perishable food and hygiene items will be held Saturday, Jan.14, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., and Sunday, Jan. 15, noon to 4 p.m. The drive is being coordinated by the Brown Bag Food Project working out of Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green. According to Amy Jo Holland, of Brown Bag, said last year about 100 volunteers were able to canvas about two-thirds of Bowling Green. About 70 boxes of food was collected and was distributed to six area food pantries. The aim this year is to have enough people to reach all neighborhoods. In a Facebook post the organizers wrote: “We have had a wonderful response in previous years and hope to set a record with this year’s endeavor. As many of you are aware, there is a dire need for food donations in our area; we have a large number of food insecure people, and the area food pantries are extremely low on supplies.” They are asking residents to have their donations ready, so that volunteers can reach as many Volunteers will also collect monetary donations. Checks should be made out to:  Brown Bag Food Project. Those donations will be divvied up among participating pantries. Volunteers will meet at Grounds for Thought, 174 S. Main St. at the beginning of their chosen shift on either Saturday or Sunday. Shifts are two hours long. To sign up, go to: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSc_P-u0wQX5gYCFWTPEs2pItvbEuwt06jOnEnp3MHXiON84iQ/viewform?c=0&w=1  


Brown Bag Food Project has a place of its own

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Brown Bag Food Project has moved into its own place. The project, which provides emergency food and other supplies to people in crisis, has taken up residence at 115 W. Merry St., Unit B, in Bowling Green. It had been operating out of the home of founder Amy Jo Holland’s mother. Now Brown Bag will start holding regular hours for people to drop off food and other household items and for people in need to pick up deliveries. The office will be open Monday and Wednesday, 5 to 8 p.m., and Friday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Holland said people can still call at other times. The number is 419-960-5345. Brown Bag provides five-days of food and sanitary products. The idea is to step in at a time of most need and to direct families to get more permanent assistance. People can only use the service once in a six-month period. According to the project, about 15 percent of people in Wood County experience food insecurity.   Holland said the project assists about 200 people a month. Gwen Andrix, member of the board, said they get a couple calls a day. Holland started Brown Bag last year when she realized that some of her co-workers at WalMart didn’t have enough to eat. The project received its tax-exempt status in June. “It was always part of our dream to get a place,” said Andrix. The project got some donations that allowed it to have a capital budget and start looking for a place this summer. The West Merry Street location is just about perfect, she said. The building is just outside the downtown area, a block off North Main Street, near Newman’s Marathon. “It’s easy to find,” Holland said. The space seemed a little tight at first, but the board made it work. The office furnishing were all contributed by Bowling Green State University’s Office of Sustainability.  “They were very generous,” Amy Jeffers, another board member, said. The shelving was either donated or paid for with donations. This is important given the project’s meager $30,000 budget for the year. The value of a food distribution can be as much as $100 depending on the number of people in the family. The project has two freezers and a refrigerator. Fresh food includes eggs, milk, cheese, yogurt, meat, cold cuts, butter, hot dogs, and cottage cheese. There’s also frozen vegetables and bread donated by the Perrysburg Panera to supplement the boxed and canned items. That means, Andrix said, clients “can sit down and have a balanced meal just like anyone else.” Now with storage available, the project hopes to expand the number of food drives it holds. The project coordinates the local Martin Luther King Day of Service food drive. Right now they have drives at WalMart and those yield 50-60 boxes of food in two days. Andrix said they’d like to extend that to other supermarkets. The food drives at supermarkets are especially good because all the food has current use-by and sell-by dates. Sometimes in door-to-door food collections the goods are too old. Andrix said that the board has made a decision not to distribute food past its sell-by dates. Jeffers said that Brown Bag is also working with two nutrition students from BGSU to come up with recipes that use the foods available from Brown Bag and other food pantries. Many times people have limited knowledge of how to cook meals that don’t come in boxes or are ready to microwave. That was especially the case this summer when Brown Bag…


Brown Bag Food Project seeking new home

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Brown Bag Food Project needs to move out of mom’s house. The charity which provides emergency food and other essential items to those who find themselves in crisis has been storing its inventory in Peg Holland’s garage and spare room. Holland is the mother of Amy Jo Holland, the founder of the Brown Bag Food Project. The project was founded last year. It received its tax deductible status in June, 2015. Amy Jo Holland created it when she learned that some fellow workers at the local Walmart didn’t have enough to eat. From that act grew a project that now feeds about 200 people a month. The Brown Bag mission is to help people get over an emergency so they can seek more permanent help. They provide both non-perishable and fresh items as well as personal hygiene items and toiletries including diapers. Given that the calls can come at any time, Brown Bag has to have items on hand. Right now that’s at Peg Holland’s house. The inventory is outgrowing the space, and the lack of a real home is also hindering the operation. Amy Jo Holland said having a local space would allow them to purchase food from places like Northwest Ohio Food Bank at a much lower price than they can buy it retail. With the winter much of what is in the garage would have to move indoors, and Peg Holland doesn’t know where she’d put it. Peg Holland, who is on the project’s board, said they’ve been offered commercial shelves. Those shelves, her daughter said, would be great because they would allow volunteers to only handle the items once, instead of packing and unpacking them. The project has also been offered another refrigerator, which is does not have room for. There’s also an issue of safety and privacy for Peg Holland of having strangers whether picking up food or volunteers coming in and out of her home. A new warehouse would give the project a place where people could come to pick up their packages. Now those donations have to be arranged, in sites like the Walmart parking lot. That can seem “a little sketchy,” Amy Jo Holland said. Board members have looked at a few potential sites. Amy Jo Holland said they saw one of about 500 square feet and while that would meet the immediate needs, it wouldn’t do for the long run. Probably, she said, 1,000 square feet would be better. Ideal would a warehouse setting. Another food pantry operator advised looking at having large enough doors for when they start having to deal with pallets of food. The board has started a Go Fund Me campaign to raise money to pay for the new home. Contributions can be made at gofundme.com/bbfpspace. If the warehouse had a kitchen space, Amy Jo Holland said, that would be ideal, but not necessary. The project is looking for a temporary kitchen that has a commercial license so it can produce its signature caramel apples, which it sells as a fundraiser. The apples, which are sold at the Apple Butter Fest and through Grounds for Thought, are a major fundraiser for the charity. But a change in the state cottage food regulations means they can no longer be produced in her mother’s kitchen. The same holds true for the chocolate covered strawberries sold around Valentine’s Day. The project would just need the kitchen for a few days, and it would need to be inspected to be approved for their use. Despite the demands her daughter’s outreach has put on her,…


Making migrant workers feel at home in Wood County

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The workers who come into Wood County to pick crops may be here for just a few weeks, but La Conexion de Wood County wants them to know they have a friend while they are here. On Sunday La Conexion and the First Presbyterian Church of Bowling Green welcomed migrant workers at an event held at a camp in Bloomdale. They didn’t go empty handed. The Brown Bag Food Project came with boxes of food to tide them over until their first paycheck. The Wood County District Public Library staff was on hand with books and activities for the children. The Cocoon Shelter was there to offer its support. The event, now in its third year, was initiated by the church as a way of working with La Conexion, which works out of the downtown Bowling Green Church. Beatriz Maya, the managing director of La Conexicion, said that about 200 workers “at most” are now in Wood County. The numbers of migrants arriving has been declining as agriculture has mechanized and the mix of crops grown locally has changed. Now the demand is for people to pick cucumbers. Those jobs last for about six weeks, then the workers will be off to Michigan to pick apples or to Georgia or Florida to harvest other crops. As the number of crops in a region diminishes it becomes less worthwhile for workers to travel at their own expense to a place to harvest. Though their numbers are down they still have needs, she said, and La Conexion wants to help meet them either directly or by connecting them with other service groups. Maya said she has been trying to help facilitate the workers signing up for Medicaid. Though a federal program, the health program for children and the poor is administered by states, so whenever the workers move to new fields, they must give up Medicaid coverage in one state and sign up again in a new state. That means more detailed paperwork, submitting documents and waiting periods, that in Wood County can take longer than a family’s residency in the county. Last summer, she said, a child was hurt while playing, and had to go to the emergency room, but the family had no medical coverage. “We’re working with Jobs and Family Services to see if we can change the scheduling a little bit,” Maya said. That’s the kind of service La Conexion provides to Latinos in the county throughout the year. She said the forms needed to register for school are daunting enough for native English speakers, but for non-English speakers they can appear nearly impossible. La Conexion has worked with the school district to translate many of those forms. Maya said the group also advocates for services such as the hospital to provide translation services as required. Those services are provided online using Skype. She said the Bowling Green police employ such an online service. The migrants in Bloomdale, she said, are mostly from Guatamala, in the country on H2A visas. On Sunday those from the church, La Conexion and other groups shared pizza and stories, and offers of help for whatever problems they may face. This welcoming is appropriate for a place where so many residents of Mexican heritage first arrived as migrant workers. Most of them, Maya said, actually were already residents of the United States, and living in Texas. Over the years some stayed. Maybe they didn’t have enough money to move on. Or maybe they found permanent work here. The flow of Mexicans and others into the United States…


Brown Bag Food Project replenishes its shelves

This past Friday and Saturday, the Brown Bag Food Project was stationed outside of Walmart to collect food donations. We would like to recognize the generous people of Wood County and surrounding areas for making this a success. It was wonderful to talk to so many giving people. We offered a short shopping list of food and hygiene item choices for shoppers to buy. The response was overwhelming. We, the board members, would like to say thank you to all who donated and stopped by to talk about the problem of food insecurity in Wood County. Also, an extra loud thank you goes out for those of you that volunteered your time to sit at our table. With your continued help, we truly can make a difference. Brown Bag Food Project continually accepts donations and volunteers who are interested in helping those in need. Please take a moment to check us out: brownbagfoodproject.org or on Facebook at Brown Bag Food Project Wood County Ohio.  Contact us at 419-960-5345.   Thank You, Brown Bag Food Project


Brown Bag Food Project needs help to keep helping those in need

By DAVID DUPONT BG Independent News The Brown Bag Food Project had a successful first year by the only measure that matters: 782 people fed, 104 of those in the month of April alone. The grassroots food effort has been so successful, it’s now finding itself short of resources to help those in need. This summer as it marks its first year of existence it has its work cut out for it. Still the founder Amy Jo Holland and the project’s board members are optimistic they will find a way to continue the work she started. The Brown Bag Food project helps meet the immediate needs of folks who find themselves in hard times. The project can offer four to five days’ worth of food, and does so without income checks or referrals. And that food includes fresh dairy, meat and vegetables not usually found at food pantries. The project also can provide toiletries, personal hygiene products and diapers that Food Stamps won’t cover. And the project can arrange the delivery of these items during off hours when convenient for people who are working. Project volunteers try to help their clientele find more permanent assistance. “We try to be a guide not just temporary help,” said board member Amy Jeffers. All this is done “no questions asked,” said board member Nathan Eberly. Holland started the effort a couple years ago. She works at WalMart and discovered that some of her co-workers were going several days without eating. So she started helping them out. The effort grew. For a while the project helped people in Toledo as well, but that “overwhelmed” the fledgling effort, Eberly said. So the Brown Bag Project concentrated on Wood County. There’s enough need close to home. In Wood County 13.7 percent of residents experience food insecurity – they don’t know where their next meal is coming from. In some families adults will skip meals so the kids can eat, Jeffers said. Eberly said he knew Holland from other social activism and decided to help her with accounting and money management. They were able to complete the paperwork to get non-profit status by July. Besides decreasing stocks and financial resources, one of the obstacles the Brown Bag Food Project faces is the lack of a permanent location to store its food. Right now Holland’s mother is storing it for them. If they had a permanent home, Eberly said, they would be able to purchase food from the Northwest Ohio Food bank for a deep discount. He said they are working with local landowners to try to find a place. The project also has some events planned for this summer to try to replenish its stocks of food and bank account. A food drive will be held at the Bowling Green WalMart June 3 from noon to 7 p.m. and June 4 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. On June 16, from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m. the project will host a wine glass painting class in Perrysburg. On June 26 at 1 p.m. Grounds for Thought in Bowling Green will host a benefit concert featuring the Grand Royale Ukulelists of the Black Swamp (GRÜBS) and singer songwriter Tom Gorman. On Sept. 3, the Brown Bag Project will partner with the Boy Scouts on a 5K and half marathon. Check out the project’s Facebook page: Brown Bag Food Project Wood County or its website: www.brownbagfoodproject.org for details. The project can be reached at 419-960-5345.