By Madelaine Wood
The Mission of Recycle Pots & Pans is as simple and straightforward as its name— helping families eat together. As a mother and member of the food industry, Abbe Turner, owner of Lucky Penny Farm in Kent and founder of Recycle Pots & Pans, knows first hand the importance of family meals.
“Having three teenagers myself, I get it,” Abbe says. “We make sure we eat together as much as we can. I only see them if they want gas money or something to eat.”
Abbe first came up with the idea for Recycle Pots & Pans, now a recognized nonprofit with locations in Kent and Columbus, after she realized many families were not equipped to prepare their own meals, even if given access to fresh foods.
According to a 2015 U.S. Department of Agriculture Report, Ohio ranks third in the nation for families forced to skip meals or eat less because they couldn’t afford to put food on the table. Even with all the work of charitable organizations and food banks, something was missing.
“I couldn’t believe that some people didn’t have such basic things. No plates, utensils, pots, pans. I couldn’t even wrap my brain around it,” she says.
Abbe started Recycle Pots & Pans about five years ago, accepting gently used cookware and small appliances to provide for those in need in Northeast Ohio. As Recycle Pots & Pans has grown, Abbe has also seen need grow, causing her to expand to Columbus.
“I was approached by The Commissary about starting a Central Ohio branch of Recycle Pots & Pans,” Abbe says. “I’ve had a space there since December 2015, and in those seven months we’ve donated about three tons of recycled material to families in need.”
Donation hours occur every Thursday from 4-7 pm, the first Saturday of every month and by appointment at The Commissary in Marble Cliff . Some days, drop offs will be coordinated so the donor doesn’t even have to get out of their car to donate kitchenware. Monetary donations are also accepted, and completely tax deductible.
Recycle Pots & Pans works almost exclusively with a network of partners to distribute their inventory.
“We try to work with smaller nonprofits where our mission can really make a difference,” Abbe says.
Notable partners include nonprofits like Freedom a la Cart, Ethiopian Tehwahedo Social Services and The Furniture Bank of Central Ohio, to name a few.
Although the need is great, the numbers are few. Currently, Recycle Pots & Pans only has about five volunteers. While they try to keep things pretty small, more volunteers are always welcomed. Recycle Pots & Pans is entirely volunteer-based, with Abbe and a board of directors running things behind the scenes.
Looking to learn more or get involved with Abbe’s mission? Recycle Pots & Pans is hosting a special donation event Saturday, August 6 from 10am-1pm at The Commissary. The event will feature comradery and breakfast sandwiches served up by Breakfast with Nick, 1803 Bacon, The Cluckwagon and Abby’s own Lucky Penny Farm.
“Our objective is to get people to help us help others, and support local business while we’re at it,” Abbe says of the donation event. “We’ll take anything, we just need donations to continue to help the great need in Central Ohio.”