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Council introduced to new non-profit group

Tri-County Necessity and Pet Pantry of Melcher-Dallas is looking for a home in Newton.

The pantry is run by the family of Lisa Storey Ransom of Melcher-Dallas, who made a presentation at the Monday Newton City Council meeting.

“I’m here today to let the city council know that we’re looking at bringing a necessity pantry and a pet pantry to Newton,” Ransom said. “It’s a program that takes over where food stamps leave off as it provides necessity items that you can’t get on food stamps. That includes toilet paper, shampoo, soaps and all of your daily life things. The company is funded purely on donations and grants.”

“The pet pantry gets most of its product donations from sponsor Science Diet, which donates the pet food,” Ransom continued. “This concept makes it safer for the dogs to be at home with their companion than it is having to take them to the shelter.”

There’s no eligibility requirements as it comes to the necessity pantry. Everyone is qualified for it.

“The pantry is based on a point system, where if you volunteer in your city or go to the doctor you get points per person in each family,” Ransom said. “If you’re handicapped or disabled, a veteran or elderly, you get points every month. The points go toward purchasing the items that you need. No money is ever exchanged between the client and the pantry itself.”

Many of the items are worth 10 points each, which measure to be one point per penny of the item cost.

“We have a deal with Dollar Tree, who will do free shipping for us to my residence in Melcher-Dallas,” Ransom said. “In doing the free shipping, it saves the pantry a lot of money. We can buy a lot of items through Dollar Tree that are used. I am also working on a project with Walmart to get a discount on some of the items that aren’t available at Dollar Tree.”

The pantry started out in Melcher-Dallas as the prime location, but with the response from surrounding communities, Ransom expanded her operations.

“We have expanded to Marion, Jasper, Lucas, Pomeroy counties,” Ransom said. “We have made all of these expansions since October of 2013, so we’re pretty proud of what we have done so far. We hope Newton would let us come in and try to help the residents in Newton with what they need, with either the necessity pantry or the pet pantry.”

Ransom was asked by city councilor Lin Chape if she had a location in mind in Newton for the pantry.

“I don’t have a spot in mind. I was hoping you guys would let me know if there’s an open location,” Ransom said. “We’re trying to get into bigger communities so that we can have a location to store items at, so we don’t have to carry it from Melcher to Newton because we don’t have the vehicles to transport the items. We look to do distributions twice a month in Newton.”

Newton Mayor Mike Hansen advised Ransom to come to City Hall to find out the information that she would need to begin the pantries in Newton.

Staff writer Zach Johnson may be contacted at (641) 792-3121, ext. 425, or at

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