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Needs increase as client numbers increase

(BCR photo/Donna Barker)
Volunteers Jean Bates (front, left) and Joanne Baker (front, right) help sort supplies which arrived Wednesday morning at the Wyanet Food Pantry, housed in the basement of the United Methodist Church. Opened in March 2003, the food pantry served 187 people in November, and numbers are expected to be even higher this month, according to Director Kathy Crayne.

WYANET — The number of clients served by the Wyanet Food Pantry continues to increase, according to Director Kathy Crayne.

Crayne said the Wyanet Food Pantry served 187 people in November, compared to 145 people served one year ago. In September, the food pantry served 150 people, which is about average, though November and August were larger months.

She also expects the December numbers to be up. In December 2011, 300 persons were served.

Though the shelves are fairly well-stocked right now at the food pantry, the need is always there, Crayne said. Looking ahead to the holidays, the food pantry has gotten several turkeys from the River Bend Food Bank for December, and there have also been several food can drives and community donations.

However, the cost of food continues to go up for everyone, including food pantries. She is still able to get some foods at 18 cents a pound through area food banks, but other items have gone up. Of course, items bought at the grocery stores continue to increase for everyone, she said.

The Wyanet Food Pantry uses both the River Bend Food Bank, based in the Quad Cities, and the Midwest Food Bank in Peoria.

Looking at specific needs, Crayne said there’s always a need for cereal as well as items which aren’t always available through the food banks, such as paper products, cleaning supplies and personal hygiene items.

When people come to the Wyanet Food Pantry, they may shop for whatever they need, without sticking to a shopping list from the food pantry. However, clients are encouraged to remember there are other people who also need the services of the food pantry, she said.

“We have a motto here, and it’s ‘take what you need and need what you take,” Crayne said.

As a special treat, the Bureau Township Church provides birthday baskets for the children of clients, which include a cake mix and frosting, birthday plates and decorations.

To qualify for the services of the Wyanet Food Pantry, a person or family must live in Wyanet or Wyanet Township. No one will be turned away that first time but will be directed to the right pantry for the next month, Crayne said.

There is no one set description of the persons using the Wyanet Food Pantry. They may be young single adults, single parents, couples, families with children and the elderly. The clients are great people who have come to a point in their lives where they just need a bit of help, she said.

Helping out others is what the Wyanet Food Pantry is all about, the director said.

“For me personally, I think the best part (of being involved) is knowing that you can help your neighbor and be there for them,” Crayne said. “Sometimes it’s not just the food we pass out. Sometimes the best thing we can do is to lend an ear to them, to offer friendship. We all know ... there but for the grace of God go I.”

Established in March 2003 as an outreach of the Wyanet United Methodist Church, the food pantry is located in basement of the church at 112 W. Main St., with hours from 4 to 6 p.m. Thursdays.

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