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Food pantry shelves lonely this time of year PDF Print E-mail
Written by DAVE BOEHLER   
Wednesday, 27 December 2017 17:55

Saukville Community Food Pantry needs restocking after holidays season

    Now that the stockings — and stomachs — have been filled, the Saukville Community Food Pantry hopes the end of Christmas does not mean the giving spirit also stops.
    “Once Thanksgiving and Christmas is over with, most people kind of forget about food pantries, homeless people, that sort of thing,” said Mark Gierarch, the executive director of the pantry. “It’s just kind of not on their mind anymore. Thanksgiving and Christmas, everyone wants to help, everybody wants to give, but right after the first of the year, that all takes a huge nose dive.”
    Around Thanksgiving time, Gierarch says the pantry is well stocked.
    “We have exactly what we need,” he said.
    The amount of donations pretty much remain on the same pace until Christmas.
    “There’s still plenty of donations coming in, there’s still food drives taking place,” Gierarch said.
    The pantry gave out over 100 Christmas food boxes on Dec. 16. In essence it is a full day’s meal meant for Christmas day plus a few extra items. It usually contains a box of cold cereal, macaroni and cheese, canned pasta, canned vegetables and fruits, and soup.
    The pantry closed for the holidays on Dec. 21 and will not open until Jan. 4.
    “Our stock is about half of where I’d like it,” Gierarch said.
    That is what concerns Gierarch once his pantry opens up again next month.
    “It’s simply that time of year,” Gierarch said. “When it comes to the holidays, the vast majority of people are feeling more generous, more giving. Thanksgiving, Christmas time is always a time of year when people are more open to giving. And the rest of the year it’s more difficult. If you would talk to most non-profit organizations, you would find that to be the situation.”
    Gierarch says a lot of people that visit the pantry are senior citizens on social security or single mothers who are also having a difficult time.
    “There is the great need year-round for this program,” Gierarch said. “Without the program, I guess a lot of these people would have to choose between rent, utilities and eating. We try to make sure they don’t have to choose between eating.”
    But while some people might think the post-holidays season is the low point for donations to food pantries, it is actually a few months after that.
    “The most difficult time of the year in reality is in March through the end of summer,” Gierarch said. “Summer, believe it or not, is the highest demand for food through food pantries. There’s more demand for food during the summer than there is any other time of the year. That’s simply because many of the children that are connected to these families receive free breakfast and lunch through the school programs, and come summer, they’re at home.”
    The Saukville pantry opened in 2012 and could use donations of peanut butter and jelly, cereal, canned soups, ketchup, Manwich, canned fruit, canned pasta with sauce, canned beans, dried pasta and jarred pasta sauce, cake and cookie mixes and personal hygiene items such as toothpaste, soap, and toilet paper.
    Donation barrels are also located in various communities, and volunteer opportunities are available.
    For more information, call 284-0588 or email This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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