The Friendship Room in Steubenville offers food and more for those in need

Mark Law FREE PANTRY — Molly McGovern, left, and Victoria Fallon, both of the Friendship Room, stand in front of the free pantry located outside the Friendship Room at 419 Logan Ave. Persons in need can get free non-perishable food items and toiletries.

STEUBENVILLE — Persons in need can now get free non-perishable food items and toiletries outside the Friendship Room at 419 Logan Ave.

Molly McGovern of the Friendship Room said the private Christian home of hospitality provides groceries and toiletries everyday to those in need.

Those in need, some of whom are homeless, can now get basic human-need items, such as bottled water, non-perishable food items and toiletries at any time of the day or night from the food pantry.

“What is exciting is the amount of people who have come and taken stuff. They can come at all hours and get toiletries,” she said.

The pantry opened on Wednesday.

McGovern said residents can also come and help restock the pantry at any time or drop the items off inside the Friendship Room.

“I think this community is super generous,” she said.

She is looking for 30 people who will agree to bring items in once a month.

She said the items don’t have to be expensive, many of which can be purchased at area discount stores. She said sample sizes of products are perfect because homeless people won’t have to carry large bottles of shampoo or soap. She said baby wipes are good for a person on the street to clean up.

“A lot of places won’t let these people into the bathroom,” she said.

Monetary donations can be made to: Friendship Room, P.O. Box 53, Steubenville, OH 43952. The Friendship Room can be reached at (740) 314-5095.

McGovern said the goal of the Friendship Room is to work with mercy to feed and clothe people, visit people in jail or when they are sick and to bury the dead.

“It gives people a place to rest and visit. We try to do all that by building a relationship. Relationships are what changes lives. We sit and eat and we are all the same. Sometimes it is hard to tell who is who –missionary or guest — we are all the same.”

Victoria Fallon, a full-time missionary at the Friendship Room, said she comes there every day to meet the guests, get to know them and build friendships. Fallon is the former director of the Aim Women’s Center.

“She has the heart to serve the poor. It is a natural transition,” McGovern said.

Fallon said the worst part of poverty for the mentally ill and homeless is the lack of love and respect.

McGovern said people don’t have to be on the front line like her and Fallon. She said donations are one way anyone can make a difference.

“I always say, when everyone puts their piece of the puzzle in, then this beautiful mosaic is created. There is something for everyone,” she said.

McGovern said guests for dinner all pitch in to help, whether it is serving or cleaning the dishes.

“It teaches dignity. I have never had a guest who did not want to help. They all want to be a part of the family. It makes their need valid and the response is amazing,” she said.

Next to the food pantry is a family-friendly book lending library. McGovern said the Friendship Room goes through about 100 books a week. She said poor people don’t have cable TV or the Internet. They like to read.

“Every Bible I put out there is taken,” she said.

Roy Heusel, Friendship Room board member, made the food pantry.