Portage Resale Center distributes $233,000 in grants

Dec 5, 2023 | Featured, Around Ottawa County | 0 comments

On Giving Tuesday, Nov. 28, Portage Resale Center distributed $233,000 in grant money to 37 non-profits. (Photos by Sheri Trusty)

BY SHERI TRUSTY

Cynthia Roepke said the grant that Oak Harbor Alliance Chapel Food Pantry received from Portage Resale Center allows the pantry to be more than just a place where people can receive food. With the money, they can deeply invest in their clients’ lives by meeting needs beyond milk and bread.

The food pantry was one of 37 non-profits that were collectively given $233,000 in grant money during the Portage Resale Center grant distribution on Tuesday, Nov. 28. Each year, the money the center generates from sales of clothes, housewares and furniture is given, through grants, to organizations across Ottawa County.

The grants allow those organizations to impact thousands of people each year.

Cynthia Roepke of Oak Harbor Alliance Chapel Food Pantry, left, said the funds the pantry receives from Port Resale Center allows them to have a more personal impact on their clients’ lives. With her is Heather Stouffer, Vice President of the Portage Resale Center Board.

“People call us asking for gas money, and we use the money for things like soap and laundry detergent that our clients need, so the grant helps us be personally involved with our families in a way we couldn’t be otherwise,” Roepke said.

Other grant recipients included Habitat for Humanity, Port Clinton Schools, Church of Truth Ministries, and The Oak House.

“It was difficult to make decisions because the need is so much greater this year, and we had so many requests,” said Heather Stouffer, Vice President of the Portage Resale Center Board. “Portage Resale Center opened 12 years ago, and this is our 11th year of gifting. For me, it’s still emotional to think of this little shop that is just here to sell things, and yet it does so much and gives so much back to the community.”

From left, Portage Resale Center Manager Cheryl Ross, Board Vice President Heather Stouffer, and co-founder Linda Snyder, are part of a dedicated team whose work impacts thousands of people across Ottawa County each year.

Members of the Portage Resale Center Youth Council, which is comprised of high school students from across the county, assisted with the grant distribution. The Youth Council operates like the Portage Resale board, but on a smaller scale.

At the event, the group received $12,000 that they will collectively distribute to local non-profits. Throughout the year, they will visit organizations across the county, access their needs, and make decisions on where best to distribute the funds.

“It’s an exercise on how to look at needs and use money in a sustainable way,” said Stouffer.

The Youth Council experience also gives students a big-picture view of their county and helps them better understand the compassionate foundation that connects the organizations together toward one cause: making Ottawa County better for its residents.

“It’s so humbling. I look forward to this every year,” Roepke said. “You work so hard, and sometimes you feel isolated. Then you come here and realize how your work fits in the puzzle. It’s wonderful to be a part of something this enormous.”

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