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Food pantry encourages donations through lean summer months

 

Posted: Wednesday, July 3, 2013 10:12 am | Updated: 10:12 am, Wed Jul 3, 2013.

 

By Erin K. Butler | 0 comments

 

“In my 25 years here, I have never seen a need like this,” said Susie Woerz, executive director for the food pantry.

 

The food pantry is a non-profit that provides food, clothing, energy assistance, crisis intervention and referral services. Also, it offers holiday baskets, back-to-school assistance, and birthday baskets, to name a few services.

 

Donations in the summer tend to slow down because people are busy enjoying the season, or traveling. Also, it is wrongly assumed that the pantry needs donations mostly during the holidays.

 

“It’s a difficult time for everyone, not just our clients,” said Woerz, speaking of the current economic environment. “Times are tight, and we have lost funding either due to cuts being made or because there is just such a great need for funding.”

 

In addition to the loss of funding, the need for services has grown along with the number of households below the poverty level. In May alone, the food pantry took in 10,597 items of food while its outgoing amount totaled 15,787.

 

As of April, the center had 200 households receiving services. Once a client qualifies they are given services for one year, unless their situation changes and they no longer need the support.

 

Woerz said the food pantry is able to keep its doors open and meet these needs thanks, not only to individual donations, but also to community-wide efforts such as the spring appeal, postal drive and food drives.

 

“We really want our community to know how grateful we are for past donations and contributions. It’s amazing how many people step up to the plate when a need is there. We could not do what we do without the support from our residents,” said Woerz.

 

For those who would like to help make a difference, but can’t assist financially, the gift of time is always welcome. The food pantry presently has 45 volunteers that assist with clothes sorting, stocking shelves, taking inventory and working with clients.

 

“People are always surprised by how much we do and how much we provide for our clients,” Woerz said. “Our goal is to get people self-sufficient or to a better quality of life. Our volunteers are why this is possible.”

 

Woerz said anyone looking to donate should visit the food pantry website, www.thefoodpantry.net , to view the updated list of critical need items. In addition to food, items that are in constant need include toiletries, laundry detergent, cleaning products, children’s snacks, juice and diapers.

 

The food pantry is located at 54 South Canal Street and can be contacted at: (860) 747-1919; [email protected] .