Film Series Donates to Food Pantry

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By: Anne Campolongo 

The holiday season is about giving.  While most of us do a majority of receiving during the holidays, the Athena Cinema in uptown Athens is giving back.

Beginning with the Saturday after Thanksgiving and then every Saturday in December, the cinema plays a holiday movie.  The price of admission is a non-perishable food item.  The items collected are then donated to the Athens Food Pantry.  

This is the 2nd annual Holiday Film Series that the Athena Cinema has had.  According to Alexandra Kamody, managing director of the Athena, “Last year we collected over hundreds of pounds of food.”  

Last Saturday, they filled their third box of the day by 1 p.m.  Kamody also said, “Many do not bring the minimum either.  Many go above and beyond the minimum donation.”  Next Saturday the film is The Rise of the Guardians.  It is a fun way to enjoy the holiday season, but also help those who are not as fortunate. 

The Athena is not only a movie theater, but also a place for the community to gather.  As long as you bring a non-perishable food item to the movie, you receive admission to the movie along with a free cookie.  

The holiday film series comes at a convenient time for Ohio University students.  Joe Lalley, suggests that “students come to the festival to donate, but also to take an hour or two to distress from exams and goof off.”

Going to the movies can be expensive, especially for larger families.  Another benefit of the holiday film festival is the price.  It helps the community, but also is cost effective for those families who are on a budget.


The Athens Food Pantry

The Athens Food Pantry has been serving the greater Athens community for 31 years now.  It is a non-profit organization and has no paid employees. 

During 2012, the Athens Food Pantry prepared 115 food packages per week for distribution to eligible Athens County residents.  The pantry accepts all donations. 

It currently needs peanut butter and canned fruit.  It also accepts any monetary donations. 

Another way to get involved with the pantry is to host a food drive.  If you have free time on your hands, it always needs volunteers. 

The residence halls at Ohio University also collect donations as students move out the dorms for the winter break.  Boxes are located in many dorms for students to put non-expired food that they haven’t eaten which will then be donated to the pantry. 

Not only can students donate food, but if they extra meal swipes on their meal cards, they can donate items from the markets as well. 

The need is great in Athens County, it is one of the poorest counties here in the state of Ohio.  Between 20 and 30 percent of the Athens population lives in poverty.

According to the Appalachian Regional Commission website, between 2007 to 2011, the poverty rate was 16.1 percent.  While most of Appalachia is not as poverty stricken as it once was, many counties do suffer more often than the rest of the country. 

The Athena Cinema hopes to carry on this tradition of the Holiday Film Series for many more years to come.  The Athens Food Pantry benefits from these donations and all the support from the Athens community especially during the holiday season.