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Cookware recycling effort makes mealtimes possible |

Cookware recycling effort makes mealtimes possible

8/10/2017 – West Side Leader
     

By Kathleen Folkerth


Madeline, Abbe and Lily Turner are shown above after filling their van full of donations for Recycle Pots and Pans, which Abbe Turner started five years ago.
Photo courtesy of Abbe Turner

CUYAHOGA FALLS — Providing people in need with healthy foods doesn’t do much when they don’t have a pot to cook it in or a plate to eat from.

That’s what Abbe Turner realized a few years ago after hearing that a nonprofit couldn’t find takers for the farm-fresh produce it was trying to distribute.

When she asked why no one was taking the food, one of the other attendees at the local food event put it simply: “Abbe, they don’t have pots and pans.”

“I didn’t sleep for a couple of nights,” the Garrettsville resident said. “How do people not have pots and pans? It didn’t make sense.”

That inspired Turner to establish the nonprofit Recycle Pots and Pans, which collects gently used and new kitchen items to distribute to those who need it.

The organization will collect donations at the Aug. 12 Countryside Farmers Market at Howe Meadow, 4040 Riverview Road, from 9 a.m. to noon. This is third time it will be at the market. Earlier this season, 1,200 pounds of kitchen items were donated during a collection drive at the market.

Five years after starting the effort, Turner said the organization has collected about eight tons of items. Once collected, all items are stored in half of the 6,000-square foot building Turner uses in Kent for her goat cheese business, Lucky Penny Creamery. She added she works with 28 nonprofits throughout the state to redistribute the items, which range from pots, pans and plates to measuring cups, silverware and toasters.

“We take anything used to prepare or enjoy a family meal,” Turner said.

Volunteers pack the items into sets so that someone who is in need or leaving a shelter has all the essentials to begin cooking and eating meals at home.

Turner added that used items to be donated should be only gently used and washed. Volunteers go through all items and take those that are beyond use to the scrapyard, she added.

“If we pick up a pan and we think if you’re coming out of a homeless shelter and that pan is going to make you sad, we won’t give it away,” she said.

Turner also loves to accept donations of new items and tries to include in each kitchen set at least one brand new thing.

In Akron, Recycle Pots and Pans has provided kitchen sets to the International Institute, Valor Home, Haven of Rest, Battered Women’s Shelter, Salvation Army and Hattie Larlham. Occasionally, Turner said she hears from an individual in need and she tries to help those people out as well.

Turner said Recycle Pots and Pans’ mission is multifold.

“Our goal is to have families eating together and putting nothing in the landfill,” she said.

She added that through its work, the nonprofit also can make sure that the work of food pantries and food banks is not for nothing.

“We could be failing at the last mile, if the food gets into the homes but they have no way to use it,” she said. “We’re plugging the small gaps.

“We are food producers and we believe eating is a sacred act and all folks should have access to nutritionally dense foods,” she added.

Turner said she welcomes the support of local groups who want to help the effort by holding collection drives. So far, she’s received items collected by churches, book clubs, a bowling league and firefighters. The latter group made it a priority to donate pots and pans with lids, as that’s the best way to douse a fire in cookware, she said.

The work is rewarding, said Turner, who added that recently one of the recipients of a set of kitchen items who got back on their feet donated the items they received back to Recycle Pots and Pans.

“We consider ourselves to be blessed in this work,” Turner said.

For more information, go to recyclepotsandpans.com. Items also may be dropped off at 632 Temple Ave. in Kent. To schedule an appointment to have a large number of items picked up from your home, call 330-715-4140 or email recyclepotsandpans@gmail.com.

     

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