2013: Community works together to feed the hungry

What a busy year 2013 was for the Homer Community Food Pantry. It’s been a year of changes. We lost Juanita, our longest serving board member, and Gregory, who kept us all organized. We have also gained some new wonderful ones. Our volunteer army has served yet another year. Words of praise and thanks go to them as they support and feed people with a smile every Monday. Last year, we logged 12,000 hours.

Our faithful contributors weekly are pillars in our fight against hunger. Thanks, Safeway, Save-U-More, Kachemak Wholesale, Homer Theatre, Duncan House, Bagel Shop, K-Bay Café, Homer Senior Center and South Peninsula Hospital.  

There are several churches that collect food regularly each month for us: St. John’s Catholic, Christian Community, All Saints of America, St. Augustines’ Episcopal, Homer United Methodist Church, St. Mark’s Lutheran and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Kandu, at Save-U-More done by Mr. Potato Head, gathers food for us also.  

There are many yearly canned goods collectors: U.S. Coast Guard, the Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Baptist Youth Group, Bay Club, Weight Watchers and Stay Tan. There are several schools who donate yearly also: Flex, Homer Middle School, West Homer Elementary and McNeil Canyon. It’s a beautiful effort on our community’s part to help others with food.

Last year we served 4,800 meals and 19,000 adults and children with food.  Overall numbers were higher than the previous year. Interestingly, we do not get the same people every week. Half of our clients get food three times a month or less. About 50 clients get food two to three times a month.

Some exceptional financial donations this year were made by Safeway’s Hunger bags. Homer donated 430 bags of food — a bigger number than the year before. Petro Express donated 5 cents from every gallon they sold for three weeks in December.  A number of private and business donors made contributions which were a great help to us.

Empty Bowls, a national program for fundraising on the behalf of food pantries, was our first. The artist community offered to make bowls for us and it turned out to be an amazing fundraiser.  We are looking forward to this in the future, as well.  As it has been, the efforts on behalf of others in our community was outstanding.  

Theresa Dubber’s brigade is still making jam for clients. The Homer Kachemak Bay Rotary has joined us in this endeavor. Many thanks to them for their support in that and obtaining vegetables. Words of thanks to  Homer Air and Smoky Bay Air who continue to ship boxes across the bay each month. Top Shelf gives us storage space. Andy’s Refrigeration helps us with our freezer and Coal Point has helped us with freezer space. Thank you all for your contributions.

We are now on Facebook, check us out and friend us on “Homer Community Food Pantry.”  Thank you, Homer for yet another great year of walking beside us and lending a hand whenever you can.  Remember: “A candle brightens wherever it goes.” Thanks for being the candles that brighten our community.

Diana Jeska and

Homer Community Food Pantry members