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Veterans Get Tote Bags

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Lynn and Thomas Algeri at the Veterans food pantry accept donations of canned food and totes made from bird seed bags. (MP Photo/Colleen Lockhart)

By Colleen Lockhart

Several months ago, the Huntsburg Grange #2541 started collecting used bird seed bags to upcycle into tote bags as one of their community projects to help the environment by keeping them out of landfills. At the time, they had no idea where they might be needed but knew they would find a purpose. Grange members are nature lovers and like to feed the wild birds. 

When the Grange members became aware of the growing number of Geauga County veterans who visit the food pantry in Chardon, not only were they prepared to donate canned food, but decided that the tote bag project would be useful as a replacement for single use plastic bags. Made out of synthetic fiber, the totes are heavy-duty, reusable and wipe clean with a sponge. The totes hold more items and are sturdier than plastic bags.

The tote bags are made from empty bird seed bags that are cut and sewn with a handle and are adorned with birds on the front. Bird seed comes in 20, 40 and 50 pound bags that can be cut and sewn. Instructions for making totes from bird seed bags can be found on the internet. This would make a great stay-at-home project.

Lynn and Thomas Algeri at the Geauga County Veterans Food Pantry accepted the food and totes with appreciation and their thank you letter read “We are continuing to provide food and necessary items to our veterans during the COVID-19 statewide shutdown. Every donation helps us to furnish those men and women who honorable served our country during this most difficult time.” The pantry is located at 13211 Aquilla Road, Suite B, in Chardon. To schedule a drop-off, phone 440-901-4030 or email gcvetpantry@yahoo.com

Like all other non-profit community service groups, the Grange has cancelled some of their annual events in Huntsburg: Chili Cook-Off, rummage sale and open house, Memorial Day remembrance, June band concert. We are hopeful that Ohio residents will follow the COVID-19 Responsible RestartOhio initiative so our remaining events can go forward. 

In the meantime, we will continue to serve the community through donations to non-profit organizations who are helping Geauga citizens during the pandemic.  

Anyone interested in learning about Huntsburg Grange #2541 can contact Jean at 440-286-4992 for information on how to become a member.

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