From Laurie Fergusson…
The Helpline Food Bank has been open to serve those in need throughout the pandemic. Volunteers and a few employees were on the frontlines distributing food for anyone in need throughout 2020, and they continue to distribute food four days a week.
Helpline distributed 500,154 pounds of food to those in need, with very few questions asked.
The front porch pantry was significantly enlarged to cover those who could not come for drive up distributions. The front porch pantry is where the flip top cans have gone and they have been very appreciated.
Kids Pantry Bags were provide for 41 weeks during the pandemic giving over 3000 bags to children with food insecurity. This has been where the granola bars, fruit cups, juice boxes and trail mix pouches have been put to use, as well as cereal and peanut butter and jelly.
During school breaks in December and February, 159 Kids Pantry Bags were distributed by Helpline together with Rotary. Spring break is quickly coming and any child 2-18 qualifies for a Kids Pantry Bag. This is especially important as many children are provided lunches by the school district only when school is in session.
Currently there is significant need for breakfast cereals and individual juice boxes. Kids Pantry Bags always needs granola bars, juice boxes, trail mix pouches and fruit cups.
The Front Porch Pantry needs non-concentrated canned meals, vegetables, and fruit in pop top cans.
The St Barnabas basket for Helpline is on the Fergusson’s front porch and it was overflowing daily in early 2020 but has been relatively empty since Thanksgiving.
For those of you who don’t want to travel to the north end of the island, our grocery stores have donation boxes by the front doors or you are welcome to drop at Helpline’s upper backdoor 9am-11am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays. The need is constant! Thank you everyone for your loving generosity!
Sharing wisdom from a Food bank volunteer:
1. Everyone donates Kraft Mac & Cheese boxes, but they need milk and butter which is hard to get from food banks.
2. Boxed milk is a treasure. Kids need it for cereal, which they get a lot of.
3. Everyone donates pasta sauce and spaghetti noodles.
4. Canned foods should be pop tops OR donate can openers.
5. Oil is a luxury needed for Rice a Roni which they get a lot of.
6. Spices, salt and pepper are a real gift.
7. Tea bags and coffee are caring gifts.
8. Sugar and flour are treats.
9. Important are fresh produce donated by farmers and grocery stores.
10. Seeds are great in the spring and summer because growing can be easy for some.
11. Rarely is there fresh meat.
12. Tuna and crackers make a good lunch.
13. Hamburger Helper goes nowhere without ground beef.
14. They get lots of peanut butter and jelly but need sandwich bread.
15. Butter or margarine are good.
16. Eggs are a commodity!
17. Cake mix and frosting makes it possible to bake a child’s birthday cake.
18. Dishwashing detergent is very expensive and always appreciated.
19. Feminine hygiene products are a luxury and women will cry over them.
20. Everyone loves Stovetop stuffing.
Bonus: Cash makes it possible for the food bank to buy what is missing and buy in bulk.