More than 70 varieties of handmade chocolates like these were made and donated to sell at the Chocolate Walk. The fundraiser for the Caring & Sharing Food Pantry Building Fund was held on December 15, 2022. (Photo/Courtesy of Caring and Sharing Food Pantry)

It all started with someone’s passion for making chocolate candy. That inspired Paulding County candy makers far and wide to produce more than 70 varieties of beautiful and delicious chocolate treats. And in the end, it raised more than $10,000 in just three hours at the Chocolate Walk fundraiser for the Caring & Sharing Food Pantry building fund. It was truly amazing.

The event was held in the Youth Leadership Building at the Paulding County Fairgrounds on Dec. 15, 2022, and a crowd of chocolate enthusiasts filled the lobby before the sale even began.

“I didn’t know what to expect,” said Rita Diaz, pantry board of directors’ member and secretary. “But never in my wildest dreams did I expect this. Our community is so generous. The people who planned the event, made the chocolate and bought the chocolate together have really helped us move our new building project forward.”

Caring & Sharing Food Pantry is raising money to construct a new 3,900-square-foot structure at 318 N. Walnut Street in Paulding that will house its operation. The new building will include space for stock storage, client shopping, office and a client enrichment room. By the end of 2022, the community has contributed more than 80% of the initial goal of $525,000.

The pantry is currently located at 119 South Main Street in Paulding. Its mission is to eliminate food insecurity in Paulding County by providing food and basic personal care items to those who qualify. The pantry operates based on donations of groceries and funds from individuals, churches, organizations and businesses, as well as through the support of Feeding America and the West Ohio Food Bank.

The pantry accepts donations of food and groceries when it is open on Wednesdays and Saturdays, 9 a.m. to noon. Financial donations can be sent to Caring & Sharing Food Pantry Building Fund at P.O. Box 391, Paulding, OH 45879 or in care of the Paulding County Area Foundation at 101 E. Perry Street, Paulding, Ohio 45879.

For more information about the pantry, volunteering opportunities and fundraising activities, follow the Caring & Sharing Food Pantry on Facebook. You also can contact the pantry, at (419) 399-9562 or