In 1981, Barnesville "Meals on Wheels" volunteers, Dr. Paul and Sharon Ohm noticed "many people on town needed more than a free lunch," St. Vincent of Barnesville president Bill Hunkler recently remembered.
They prevailed on Fr. Charles Mascolino of the Church of Assumption to call a meeting. He did.
The organizing meeting on November 23rd, just three days before Thanksgiving, was attended by 10 interested citizens – Kathleen Bennett, George Bennett, Peggy Bishop, Mary Ann Cerminera, Barb Circosta, Bill Hunkler, Virginia Hunkler, Ray Jordan, Paul Ohm and Fr. Mascolina.
Sharon Ohm and Jaques Bishop, were also original members of the group.
Ohm acting as "temporary secretary" recorded the following from that evening’s discussion:
The following consensus decisions were reached:
(1) Critical need to get started; location possibly found; Bill Hunkler will follow up on it
(2) Divisions of workers occurred
(3) Dues totaling $7 was collected to open a checking account
(4) We will open membership to anyone who wants to help and will help anyone who is suffering
(5) A referral system will be established
(6) A regular collection and food basket will be placed at the back of the Assumption sanctuary
(7) Goal: get building ready by Nov. 30 – collect goods and clothes and set up shop for the first food distribution the first week of December
Volunteer, food, facilities, clothing and referral committees were established that evening.
And with that a volunteer organization, a thrift store, a pantry, and a community support organization for the Barnesville area’s less fortunate, was launched.
The first store was located at 116 W. Main Street. "Volunteers who managed the store in the early years included Virginia Hunkler, Elsie Bonvenuto, Lucille Hall, Rita Orr, and Jean Hines" to name a few, Hunkler recounted.
The format, a resale store with a mission of serving the community with reasonably priced clothing and goods and an accompanying food pantry, was an immediate hit.
What wasn’t, was a location for the store. From the original locate on, the operation moved to " the 200 block of East Main, then nest door to the current location of Bob’s Barbershop, then to Frank William’s building at 108 N. Chestnut, then 227 E. Main, also owned by Williams, followed by 127 W. Main, and the last 17 years, 114 W. Main," said Hunkler, noting he helped with each of those moves.
This move this time to 116 S. Gardner, is, thankfully, the store’s and Hunkler’s last!