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Easter treats for Walnut Food Pantry patrons

WALNUT — The Walnut Food Pantry is observing the Easter season by distributing hams and eggs to its patrons this month.

Walnut Food Pantry Director Deanna Wilt said the Easter hams and eggs are provided by the Walnut Community Food Basket Group and are being distributed through the food pantry. The community group, which also does food baskets at Christmas, is comprised of people from all the churches in the community, she said.

Established in April 2005, the Walnut Food Pantry is located in the basement of the First United Methodist Church. The food pantry is a joint outreach effort of the churches throughout the Walnut Township area. The food pantry is open for distribution on Thursdays, but it will be closed April 17, Maundy Thursday. Currently, the food pantry serves an average of 100 individuals each month.

Wilt said the shelves at the food pantry are pretty well stocked right now. The food pantry is still working on some of the food donations received at Christmas time, including a large one by Bureau Valley North students. The Student Council led that food collection, and instead of exchanging Christmas gifts, the students used that money to bring in food items for the food pantry.

As another help, the food pantry has been able to get paper products rather inexpensively through Gary Brooks at the Walnut Leader newspaper and his contacts.

However, the food pantry does need personal hygiene items, like soaps, shampoos, toothpaste and toothbrushes, Wilt said.

As far as the patrons, Wilt said it seems like she is seeing someone new every month. Some people may come in for a few months and then not need the food pantry for a while, but then may need to come back again.

“The need is here; that’s why we implemented the food pantry,” Wilt said.

Prior to the opening of the food pantry, Walnut area people had been going to the food pantry in Princeton, but not everyone had the needed transportation to get there, Wilt said. People can now walk to the Walnut Food Pantry, or there are people within the community, including food pantry volunteers, who will offer those people a ride to the facility.

Donations are always accepted, any time of the year, Wilt said. 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.

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