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Walnut Food Pantry gears up for the holiday season

Published: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 1:23 p.m. CDT • Updated: Friday, Dec. 6, 2013 1:25 p.m. CDT

WALNUT — Though the shelves at the Walnut Food Pantry are well-stocked right now, there’s always an ongoing need to keep those shelves filled, according to Director Deanna Wilt.

The Walnut Food Pantry has been serving about 100 individuals for the past several months, though there was a slight increase in numbers during the fall, Wilt said.

Though the shelves may be stocked right now with food items, there is also the ongoing need for other things, like shampoo, toothpaste, soaps and other personal hygiene items, as well as cleaning supplies, soaps and detergents for the home. Those non-food items are not usually available through the food banks, she said.

“We can use about everything. We don’t turn anything away,” Wilt said.

As far as special needs during the Christmas season, Wilt said the food pantry is not directly involved in preparing Christmas baskets, but the Walnut community does have a Christmas Food Basket program, as well as a Giving Tree outreach for the children. The churches and community members work together on those projects, giving to families who may or may not use the food pantry. This year, the churches will distribute about 60 Christmas baskets.

Established in April 2005, the Walnut Food Pantry is housed in the basement of the Walnut United Methodist Church but is a joint outreach effort of the churches throughout the Walnut Township area. Donations are always accepted, any time of the year. People may drop off their donations at the Methodist Church, at the other churches in the community, or by contacting Wilt or the board members.

Wilt has been director since the Walnut Food Pantry opened nearly 10 years ago and the majority of board members have also been with the food pantry since it opened its door, she said.

“The Walnut Food Pantry is a great community outreach that we are able to provide. All the churches and individuals work so well together. It is definitely a good community effort,” Wilt said.

Some people are fairly regular at the food pantry, but not all, Wilt said.

“We might only have some people for just a few months of the year, but the food pantry is here for them, to help them make ends meet when they need the help,” Wilt said. “Some are disabled; some are elderly. But when they need to have assistance, we are there for them.”

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