More donations, more needs for food pantry

Published: Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 2:40 p.m. CDT • Updated: Monday, Dec. 17, 2012 3:08 p.m. CDT
Caption
(BCR photo/Donna Barker)
Volunteers (from left) Compton Mitchell, Bill Swisher and Larry Grubar stock freezer shelves at the Hall Township Food Pantry located at 500 N. Terry St. in Spring Valley. Dozens of volunteers are needed to help stock shelves and serve as personal shopper assistants for the clients who use the food pantry's services. Established in 1996 by Project Success, the Hall Township Food Pantry serves individuals and families in nine area communities.

SPRING VALLEY — The Hall Township Food Pantry may receive more in the way of donations during the holiday season, but the needs are also greater at this time of the year, according to Jan Martin, director of the Hall Township Food Pantry.

Though there could be several reasons for the increased need during the holidays, one possible reason could be more people are using the food pantry during the holidays because they are using some of their money to buy Christmas gifts and don’t have as much money for food, Martin said.

In November, the food pantry served 313 families, which represented 937 individuals. The food pantry also distributed 297 Thanksgiving baskets, representing 790 individuals. The Thanksgiving basket distribution was done on a nice weather day, so more senior citizens came out. If the weather is cold, seniors don’t come out as much, she said.

In addition to its regular monthly provisions, the food pantry plans to distribute 300 Christmas baskets this week.

Started in 1996 by Project Success, the Hall Township Food Pantry serves the communities of Arlington, Bureau, Dalzell, DePue, Ladd, Hollowayville, Seatonville, Spring Valley and Cherry. Open hours for serving are from 10 a.m. to noon Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday, plus from 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Martin said people can come only once a month to the food pantry, but each time the individual or family receives 50 to 70 pounds of food.

There are some items which are hard to keep stocked at the food pantry. Jelly and peanut butter are very hard to keep on shelves. Soups are a good staple and always needed. When interviewed, Martin said she didn’t have one pound of spaghetti on the food pantry shelves. Pasta is always needed. Also, paper products, personal hygiene items and cleaning supplies are also always needed, she said.

The Hall Township Food Pantry buys many items from the River Bend Food Bank in Moline and the Midwest Food Bank in Peoria, but right now it seems the food banks are running short with their supplies, Martin said.

Fortunately, the Hall Township Food Pantry is surrounded by very generous communities, with organizations, churches, groups and individuals helping with food drives, toy drives and benefits for the food pantry, Martin said. In addition to these donations, there are several businesses which give regularly to the food pantry, including the Peru Walmart, Peru HyVee store and the Walmart Distribution Center. The giving evidence of Christmas is alive and well, she said.

“I am really blown away by the giving goodness of the people in this area,” Martin said. “I’m so excited and so thankful for all wonderful donations we receive, so we can help those in need.”

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