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Food pantries help stretch Phyllis’s income.

Although she recently celebrated her 90th birthday, Phyllis won’t let age slow her down. She’s an active volunteer with Friends of the Maple Heights Library and also helps out in the Maple Heights Senior Center, where she’s a regular.

One of the services provided by the senior center to members like Phyllis is transportation to the Maple Heights Food Pantry, a Greater Cleveland Food Bank partner agency.

Phyllis has been a member and volunteer at the senior center for the past 17 years, and has been visiting the food pantry since it opened about four years ago. Volunteering keeps her active and social, and the food she receives from the pantry helps stretch her small, fixed income.

As a younger woman, Phyllis never would have expected to need help making ends meet. She had what some would think of as a glamorous life. She and her husband of 26 years lived abroad in Italy — he was easily able to support his family and she didn’t have to worry. But when he passed away nearly 30 years ago, she was stunned and heartbroken. Phyllis returned home and got a job — working for 11 years before retiring at the age of 71.

Now, regular Social Security checks make up her meager income. Phyllis’ heating bills spike dramatically during these northeast Ohio winters. She’s especially grateful for the help she receives at the food pantry now that her budget is even tighter.

“With food prices the way they are and with a fixed income, it’s such a blessing!” Phyllis said of the pantry. “I am very thankful.”

Starting on Wednesday, August 27, 2014, and continuing through Wednesday, Sept. 17, all 272 Walgreens stores in Ohio and Northern Kentucky will accept Spread Some Good donations of $1 or more at checkout registers to supply peanut butter to local food pantries across the state.

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