GRANVILLE — The need for the Putnam County Food Pantry, which was established in 1987, has continued to increase, and support from the community has been there every step of the way.
“There’s no way we’d have been able to help families for as long as we have without the support from our local communities,” Gayle Reno, PC Food Pantry president, said.
“The help everyone has provided us with over these many years is truly incredible,” she said.
On Saturday mornings, families needing assistance are welcome to visit the pantry, which is located beneath Granville’s United Church of Christ. Reno said monthly support is provided to approximately 25 local families a week.
The pantry can also help families with toiletries, cleaning and laundry supplies, and other personal and household items.
Along with donated items and money from individuals and community, church and school groups, the pantry receives regular support from PC Foods, Hennepin Food Mart, the Wal-Mart Distribution Center, and area food banks located in Bloomington and Moline.
While donated items are always appreciated, financial donations allow the purchase of increased amounts because for each dollar donated, the pantry can purchase $10 worth of food from the food banks.
As well as helping local families keep food on the table, the pantry also plays a special role in keeping Christmas the special time it should be.
This year, the pantry, with support from local churches, PC Foods, Hennepin Food Mart, Putnam County Rotary Club, the Granville Fire Department, and Toys In The Pantry, provided 132 Christmas baskets to area families which fed more than 400 people. Sixty of the baskets were delivered by the fire department.
Each basket contained food for both a Christmas breakfast and dinner, as well as toys and items of clothing for each child and a gift for any senior family members. Food items in the baskets included milk, eggs, bread, butter, bacon, ham, canned vegetables and fruit, fresh fruit, lettuce, salad dressing, frozen pizza, lunch meat, dessert items and candy.
“Assembling the baskets has become a large event, and we receive support from throughout the community and all of our wonderful volunteers,” Reno said.
“This year we’ve had some younger volunteers take over, and I’m so thankful for their help and everything they’ve done to make sure it’s a success,” Reno said of Karissa Hopkins and Amy Cimei, who have began coordinating the event.
Reno said the support received from the community resulted in enough donated toys that the surplus has been stored in order to give them a head start on assembling next year’s Christmas baskets.
Another positive development for 2018 was the recent $1,000 donation from Dynegy’s power plant in Hennepin.
The money was raised through employee donations, which were matched by the company.
“We like to help support the Putnam County Food Pantry because it’s local help for our local people, and that’s important to us,” Byron Veech, plant manager, said.
“Our little community of Putnam County is so amazing because, as I’ve said before, all we have to do is put the word out about what we’re in need of, and it seems like the next day, those items are waiting on the stairs for us,” Reno said.
While any donations are always welcomed, she added that currently the pantry is in need of various household supplies, such as cleaning and toiletry items.
The Putnam County Food Pantry is in the basement of Granville’s United Church of Christ at 103 Church St. The pantry is open from 8:30 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturdays and can be reached at 815-339-6480 for more information.