WEST LAFAYETTE, OH (WCMH) — A small local community shows it has a big heart. The village of West Lafayette in Coshocton County is offering food to those in need, but in a unique way.
A small building by the police station is called the “Cupboard for help.” It is a self-serve center based on trust, if a community member is in need, they can come, open the cupboard and pick up food or toiletries, said Police Chief Stephen Klopfenstein.
“It is all based on whatever you need help yourself, and if you can give a little bit that is ok, if you can’t we understand that too,” he said.
Chief Klopfenstein said his wife asked him to come up with a way for locals in need to get food on demand. The project has started out small, but big for a village of 2,233 people.
“We’ve serviced approximately 10 families so far, and also have a voucher that we give for the milk eggs and butter, “Klopfenstein said.
He took the idea to the Rotary Club in which he is a member, in January 2017, and they built the small building in November of 2017.
Klopfenstein said the four full-time officers including him and two part-time officers have taken the concept a step further.
“In fact, if my officers come upon somebody that needs something, they are going to service them on the spot,” Klopfenstein said.
The mayor of West Lafayette gives a lot of credit to the police chief for his community-based policing ideas.
“It’s real positive, it is fresh new ideas that reach out to the needs of the community. My hat is off to the chief and his department for the way they do that,” said Mayor Stephen Bordenkircher.
The mayor said Klopfenstein has also started a kids carnival that has become an annual event. “He has put together a reading library, with a small take a book give a book attitude for folks to come to the park and get a book to read,” Bordenkircher said.
The food pantry cupboard had 400 cans of food donated in a fundraiser by the West Lafayette United Methodist Church and toiletries donated by the local Dollar General Store. Klopfenstein said he has turned away some food donations, because the cupboard gets overwhelmed.