Food pantry depends on community

You may have noticed that the Kenai Peninsula Food Bank (KPFB) is sending out donation requests of late.  Homer Community Food Pantry (HCFP) has received several calls asking, “How does this donation benefit you?” 

We receive no money from them. Donating to them is your decision. As dues-paying members of KPFB, our only benefit is purchasing food, when they have it, at a reduced cost. 

Cash donations to Homer’s Food Pantry allow us to provide food to many in our community.  To meet that need, weekly we spend more than $500 to supplement the food donations that you bring us. It helps so much particularly at this time of year when canned goods on our shelves are quite sparse.  We are only able to do this because of your cash donations and donated food. 

Over the past 24 years, HCFP has seen continuous patterns of change and growth.  This change comes mostly thanks to all the generous individuals, businesses and organizations who have helped us all these years.  

How do we say thanks to our gracious donors: Safeway, Save-U-More, Kachemak Wholesale, Duncan House, K-Bay Café, Homer Theatre, the Senior Center and all who give each week?  Without the Scouts, churches, businesses, post office, school organizations, our Coast Guard and the Haunted Hickory food drives and many, many individuals, we could not continue to feed people in our community. Our Homer community helps in so many ways to support their neighbors. 

One change we have noticed already this year is that Feinstein did not offer their grant. They have offered it for the past 17 years and our community always did their part.  The community’s involvement with regard for others is amazing. 

Only with your generous gifts of dollars, canned and dried goods and volunteer hours can we serve approximately 17,345 adults and children. We served an average of 1,480 clients per month last year. 

Some facts about the pantry in 2014:  

• We accumulated 13,350 volunteer hours for the year, an average of 250 weekly.

• We spent an average of $1,480 a  month for food.

• 99 percent of our finances came from the Homer community, a very generous one.

• We distributed about 45 CSFP boxes for low income seniors each month. More than 300 boxes were dispersed throughout the Kenai Peninsula.

• We provided 5,935 prepared meals to clients on 52 Mondays.

• We also supplied snack items to five local schools during the school year for about 200 students.

• We helped an average of 20 families across the bay with food boxes each month in Nanwalek and Seldovia — thanks to Homer Air and Smoky Bay Air.

• Nonprofits such as Haven House, NAMI and Community Health clients are provided with food boxes weekly for 35 people.

• We worked together with Homer Prevention Project and Share the Spirit to help people with needs.

• A “subsidiary” food pantry operated, and still does, at the Greatland Church in Anchor Point, distributing food boxes and soup on Monday evenings to about 25 families.

We are all part of the solution to hunger.  Our “all volunteer army” wants you to know we see this as a partnership, a collective group who care about their neighbors.  Keep up the good work, Homer.  

Oh!  And by the way, friend us on Facebook at “Homer Food Pantry.” Thanks! 

Diana Jeska is the director of the Homer Community Food Pantry.