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home : local news : local news June 25, 2016

11/15/2012 2:04:00 PM
Food pantry 'hit hard' as holiday season arrives
Donations (like these arriving in February 2011) help keep the pantry running, but the need to buy meat and other goods are depleting financial reserves. (Daily News photo)
Donations (like these arriving in February 2011) help keep the pantry running, but the need to buy meat and other goods are depleting financial reserves. (Daily News photo)
Daily News

The Robinson Food Pantry is in need of volunteers and resources.

For the past year the number of individuals and household coming to the food pantry has continued to increase. That, coupled with the lack of federal meat commodities, has severely strained the pantry's financial resources.

Last month, the pantry provided food to 320 households and an estimated 1,200 individuals, compared to a year ago when they served less than 1,000 individuals and 280 households.

"We have been hit hard," Pantry Director Pattie Murphy said.

Without the government subsidy, Murphy has had to buy meat to put in the food boxes, and it is depleting financial reserves. The boxes are packed for different household sizes and offer complete meals and meal supplements.

Along with the items donated to the food panty, Murphy regularly buys canned and boxed goods that are offered at pennies on the dollar from suppliers and the Eastern Illinois Food Bank. Over the past several months, meat has not been on the government subsidy list. Murphy said she is spending around $2,000 a month on meat for the food pantry.

The impact is so bad that Murphy said they will not be able to provide the annual holiday boxes this November.

In years past, the pantry has tried to offer an extra box with Thanksgiving food items to help celebrate the holiday, but there will be no boxes this year because of a lack of resources.

Murphy did say she has worked out a deal on some four-pound hams for this month with a local grocer for the regular boxes, but they will still not be able to supply the extra holiday boxes this year.

Robinson is not the only food pantry seeing increases and running out of resources. Across the country pantries have reported closing their doors completely and temporarily suspending operations.

Murphy said they are also in need of volunteers to help unload supply trucks and with distribution.

To donate or volunteer contact Murphy at 544-3773.

The pantry, at Otterbein United Methodist Church, distributes food on the first and third Mondays and Thursdays.

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