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Hall Township Food Pantry celebrates 15 years

SPRING VALLEY — Project Success of Eastern Bureau County’s Hall Township Food Pantry celebrated 15 years of sharing food on Saturday.

In celebration, the food pantry provided an open house setting from 10 a.m. to noon and invited individuals on pantry tours through the current location at 500 N. Terry St.

Director Jan Martin said it was a great time, and people who visited were very interested in seeing how the pantry operates on a daily basis.

Martin explained the food pantry operates a little bit differently than most. The Hall Township Food Pantry uses a client choice operation, where patrons are escorted through the pantry by their own personal shopper and are assisted with choosing from a list of items.

“Each shopper gets about 70 pounds of food each month,” Martin explained.

The Hall Township Food Pantry first opened its doors in 1998 and over the years has been located in numerous locations, but has always continued to serve the needs of the community.

In the last two and a half years Martin has been director, she said the biggest change to the pantry has been the addition of the healthier foods section and baby supplies section.

“We have been really striving to order and attain healthier foods that address the special dietary needs for people who have to eat gluten-free foods, or have diabetes or for those who are lactose intolerant,” she said.

Martin said 40 percent of the shoppers at the pantry are children, so the need for a babycare section to supply items such as diapers and baby wash were also important.

Over the years, Martin has noticed an increase in shoppers at the pantry. She hopes to see the number decrease in the near future. She said numbers usually decrease during the months students are back to school, because they can rely on the two meals served at the school.

Martin said the need to supply the shelves is an ongoing task. Currently, the pantry is really focusing on being able to supply diary foods.

“I found out milk is a luxury item,” Martin said. “Milk is just very expensive and people can’t afford it.”

Martin also works to keep up the supply of butter, eggs and most recently, soy milk.

“I’m just grateful we are located within such a giving community,” Martin said. “We are also very blessed to be able to work with two food banks.”

The food pantry will be hosting a representative from the Bureau County Health Department this week, who will speak about and answer questions on the Affordable Care Act. The representative will be available during food pantry hours and also on Wednesday from 5 to 7 p.m.

Martin encourages all patrons to come find out more about the new health care law.

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