Chesterton Tribune                                                                                   Adv.

Food Pantry taking donations for Christmas distribution December 21

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Having already seen a 21 percent increase in people in need of help in the past year, the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry is gearing up for another busy Christmas distribution.

The Pantry Board of Directors recently reported that the pantry has served more than 3,248 family units or about 10,090 individual units from January through November of this year. Each time a family or an individual comes to the food pantry, they are counted as one unit.

Those numbers are up 21 percent over last year. What’s perhaps just as significant is that last year’s numbers were up 25 percent from the year before.

“You can see that things are tough out there,” said Food Pantry Board President Rick Hokanson.

The Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry has set this year’s holiday food distribution for Tuesday, Dec. 21 between 9 and 11 a.m.

In addition, the Food Pantry has set a special collection date, Dec. 11, for people who want to contribute to the food pantry.

Hokanson, who has been actively involved in the food pantry ever since its inception in 1982, said the growth of the pantry over the years has almost been staggering.

“It’s amazing that this has been going on for as long as it has, and it’s because of the community support,” he said.

The Westchester Neighbor Food Pantry serves the four Duneland townships, and everyone who comes in for assistance is screened to make sure that the family or individual is from Duneland and to ensure that they are in need. Recipients run the gamut -- from single parents to underemployed working folks to senior citizens overwhelmed by high prescription costs.

The Food Pantry served more than 220 families for its Thanksgiving distribution, and Hokanson said the pantry is projecting to serve about 265 families for its distribution of Christmas meals.

It’s too early to say if enough food will be donated to serve everyone.

As Hokanson notes, the food pantry gets the peak of its donations during the holidays. But he also said the community has always stepped up. He also credited the Duneland School students who have organized various collection drives at their schools. “It’s amazing what they do,” he said.

To Help

The special collection date will be on Saturday, Dec. 11 from 9 a.m. to noon.

Donors can drop off their items on the west side of the Duneland Resale building at the corner of 8th Street and Broadway.

In addition to canned goods, other suggested donations for this special collection include: Fresh fruits and vegetables, pasta items, tuna fish, soups, sugar, flour, cereal, dish detergent, soaps, shampoos, toothpaste, personal hygiene items, laundry soap, paper products, baby formula, baby food, and large diapers.

Donors who can’t make the Dec. 11 special collection may drop off non-perishable food items anytime at any of the following locations: Fifth Third Bank, 302 Broadway, Chesterton; Porter Bank, 230 Lincoln Street, Porter; LaPorte Savings Bank, 851 Indian Boundary Road, Chesterton; Anton Insurance Agency, 155 S. Calumet Rd., Chesterton; and the front lobby of the Duneland Resale Building, 8th and Broadway, Chesterton.

If needed, arrangements for pick-up can be made by contacting Julie Richardson at 926-7001.

Those who wish to make monetary donations can send their check or money order to the Westchester Neighbors Food Pantry, P.O. Box 902, Chesterton, IN 46304.



Posted 12/6/2010




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