MILLBURY - Visitors to the Lake Township Food Pantry and monthly giveaway may be able to pick up cereal, bread and soup on a regular basis. But in-season, fresh fruits and vegetables are hard to come by.
Two area women are planting a "compassion garden" on property donated by the Lake Township Trustees on Lemoyne Road. The trustees approved the donation at last week's meeting.
"We just want to do something for the community," said Melanie Lutman, who is heading up the project with Kimberly Boos.
The food pantry, which is open once a month at the Walbridge fire station, helps 120 people regularly.
"They should be able to come in and get healthy food for their kids," Lutman said.
She added that usually it is cheaper and more convenient to pick up a burger and fries, than fresh fruits and vegetables.
"It is easier to eat fast food than go buy some vegetables."
Lutman said the crop will include watermelon, lettuce, peas, peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, green beans, cucumbers, cauliflower and cabbage. They will stagger the planting so there is something new coming up weekly.
Trustee Chairwoman Melanie Bowen said the plot is perfect for planting because it has a water spigot on it. Parks Director Ron Hanely will do the tilling. Insurance has approved the project, she said, as long as pesticides aren't used.
Every bit of crop will be eaten, Bowen said. Volunteers will used extras in baked goods, such as zucchini bread, or share it.
"We're not going to throw it away. If we have too much, we'll take it down to the Cherry Street Mission (in Toledo)," she said.
The volunteers also hope to plant pumpkins later this year behind the Walbridge fire station.
Food from the garden will be distributed through the Lake Township Fire Belles.
To donate to or volunteer for the compassion project, call (419) 960-1361. Volunteers will be painting a fence and planting on Sunday from 5 to 9 p.m.
In other business at the May 8 meeting, the trustees discussed how to better share resources with Millbury and Walbridge.
Trustee Richard Welling said a Walbridge councilman has suggested that representatives from all three entities get together to discuss applying for grants and sharing large equipment and big purchases.
"There's a lot of duplication out there," Bowen said. "And in these times, where money is so tight, we have to think outside the box."
The trustees also said that long-time Solicitor Tom Hays has resigned to spend more time with his family.
After some discussion, the trustees decided that they still needed to retain a solicitor, but that the new one would not be required to attend all meetings.
The Wood County Prosecutor's Office does provide legal advice to the township, Welling said. But resources are thin with the office serving 19 townships and it is often weeks before the trustees receive an opinion, he said.
Also at the meeting, the trustees:
• Applied for a three-year federal COPS grant, which would be used to hire three police officers. The grant is $125,000 per position, with a township match of 25 percent. Police Chief Mark Hummer said applying for the grant makes financial sense since the department is losing two officers due to retirement and will have to replace them with or without a grant. The township is obligated to keep the grant-funded positions for a year after the grant expires.
• Entered into a contract with Heban, Sommer and Murphree LLC, Rossford, for $12,000 to provide legal assistance for organizational structure and legal documents. This is for work on studying the feasibility of a regional northern Wood County Dispatch District with Rossford, Northwood, Walbridge and Millbury. Grant monies will pay for the study.
• Decided to dedicate a new shelterhouse at Moline Meadows Park to Gene Gilsdorf, who died last month, and his wife Ethel. The $3,193 shelterhouse will be purchased from Jack's Amish County Konnection, Fremont, which will also do the installation. The Lake Township Parks Committee, which received a memorial donation from the Gilsdorf family, is contributing $1,596.
• Authorized the purchase of 2,000 rounds of 40 caliber and 500 rounds of .223 from Kiesler's Police Supply Inc., Jeffersonville, Ind., for $3,786, for the police department.
• Renewed the Mirra IV Recording System contract for $2,520 for the dispatch center.
• Voted to spend $1,400 for replacement drainage tile at fire station 1.
• Approved an additional cost of $1,072 to Bender Communications, Marion, for transitional radio equipment for the police and fire departments.
• Heard the Wood County Commissioners will hold a town meeting before the next trustees' meeting on May 21 at 4:45 p.m. in the administration building.
• The Wood County Park District will hold a town hall meeting on May 23 at 6:30 p.m. in the administration building. Northern Wood County park plans will be discussed.