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Ascent Resources helping local food pantry reach new heights

RECEIVES DONATION — The Smithfield Food Pantry has received a donation from Ascent Resources to help with its food distribution around the holidays. (Contributed photo)

CAMBRIDGE — The ongoing COVID-19 global pandemic continues to be a strain on businesses, communities and families and is driving an uptick in those who need assistance at local food pantries.

That’s what led Ascent Resources LLC to partner with them.

The Smithfield Food Pantry, led by Stan Dombroski and located in the heart of Jefferson Country, and Grace Food Pantry, led by Shannon Shatto and located in downtown Cambridge, have been assisting families in need for years and have seen increased demand for their services during the last few months.

Smithfield and Grace cover a large service area that included several communities in Jefferson and Guernsey counties, and those communities mirror that of Ascent, a natural gas producer.

“Things are tough for everyone right now, but especially for the areas Smithfield and Grace serve; it was an easy decision that we were happy to make to donate time and resources to both pantries to help our neighbors in any way we can,” said Amanda Finn, director of government relations for Ascent.

Ascent is the largest producer of natural gas and oil in Ohio by volume. While headquartered in Oklahoma City, its Ohio home base is Cambridge, and it has another field office in Belmont County.

“Our food pantry here in Smithfield has enjoyed a long and strong partnership with Ascent, from their yearly donations around this time to the walk-in cooler they purchased for us last year so we could start to house perishable and healthy items for our families,” said Dombroski. “Each one of our 250 families was not expecting to receive a turkey this year, so we expect that will be a surprise for them.”

Natural gas and oil development has slowed a bit this year in Ohio and Appalachia as demand has decreased across the board during the last several months. The hope is that as area residents begin to travel more and get back to work, school and play and, most important, those who are ill get well and a workable vaccine is implemented, not only will things get back to normal, but demand will increase, driving more need for additional investment and production.

“Being able to assist families during this pandemic has become a top priority for our team here at Grace,” said Shatto. “We know the need in our community is great but having true partners, like Ascent, gives us continued hope that we can meet the needs of our communities most vulnerable and deliver to them what they need when they need it.”

The Ohio Oil and Gas Association joined their member Ascent to assist with both donation dropoffs and to check in with the pantries to see what other needs exist.

“We love their heart, and days like today are not just another to do item on a checklist for these guys, they love giving back, they are a part of these communities and understand to whom much is given much is expected, and they live up to that each and every day,” said Mike Chadsey, public relations director for the association.

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