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Gearing up for Easter

Western Bureau County Food Pantry to distribute hams

SHEFFIELD — The Western Bureau County Food Pantry in Sheffield is gearing up for the Easter season with a planned distribution of hams for its patrons.

On Tuesday, pantry co-director Mary Lanham said she has ordered 80 hams which will be distributed April 16 to patrons, during the regular distribution hours of 9-11 a.m. and 4-6 p.m. People have been pre-registering for the hams for about five weeks now. The food pantry serves about 80-90 families a month, and more hams can be gotten if needed, she said.

Financial donations are always greatly appreciated to help cover the costs of the Easter hams, Lanham said.

As another special outreach, the food pantry also recently gave out spring cleaning buckets to its patrons, which included seven different cleaning products, Lanham said. The last time the food pantry was able to distribute spring cleaning buckets was four years ago, thanks to a United Way grant. Cleaning products can be expensive, and if a family has to choose between milk or Mr. Clean, they will choose the milk, she said.

As far as its regular needs, the food pantry is currently in need of pretty much everything, Lanham said.

Food staples are always needed, things like cereal, macaroni and cheese, and soups, as well as fruit, Lanham said. Paper products, like toilet paper and paper towels, toothpaste and soap, are always needed, Lanham said.

As far as the persons having a need for the local food pantry, Lanham said a lot of the patrons are noticing the recent cuts in food stamps, which is taking a toll on their budgets. There are also a lot of underemployed and part-time employed, she said.

“If you have a family and one parent is laid-off from work and the other is working part-time, and you have three kids, there’s just no way you have enough money,” Lanham said.

She’s also seen a slight increase in the number of elderly people using the food pantry, which is a very hard thing for them to do, Lanham said. There are also some folks who hadn’t used the food pantry for more than a year, but are now back because they’ve lost a job.

With the price of food going up so much in recent months, monetary donations are always appreciated, since the food pantry can buy many items from the River Bend Food Bank in the Quad Cities at 18 cents per pound, Lanham said. The food pantry’s last bill from River Bend was for $1,700, but they got $5,800 worth of food, she said.

The food pantry also tries to support the local grocery store, Winger’s Royal Super Market in Sheffield, as much as possible and is grateful for its help to the food pantry, Lanham said adding the Western Bureau County Food Pantry would be closed without the generosity of people, businesses and churches in its service area, she said.

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