Homer gets creative when it comes to filling pantry

“What should we say in this article about the Homer Food Pantry?” I asked some fellow volunteers. “What happens here? What makes us unique?” There were lots of suggestions. Mostly we give food to people who need food, but there are so many other ways that we help share what needs to be shared.  My list ended up getting longer and longer and I was imagining an awful run-on paragraph — until I decided to write a poem.  (Perhaps after this, you will think that run-on paragraphs aren’t so bad, but here we go…)
The Creative ways Homerites
Support the Food Pantry
There are veggie gardeners and jam makers
potato planters and cookie bakers
proceeds from breakfasts and lunches and dinners
There are apple growers and egg gatherers
moose hunters and fishermen
police bringing illegal ones that
should not have been reeled in!
There are hockey players with huge bags full
paddlers racing kayaks in the pool
golfers paying with cans to swing their shots
and runners doing Thanksgiving turkey trots
There are winnings from scavenger hunts
profits from pull-tabs
prizes from winter parade floats
and guys scaring up cans with their haunted boats
There are potters throwing bowls for us to sell full of soup
coat collectors, sweater knitters, back-to-school suppliers
move over Easter bunnies, we have our own Easter basketers
There’s Kandu the Care-O-Saurus swallowing food at the store
fuel pumps sharing their takings with the poor
the Foundation’s Community Chest that plays a huge part
the City of Homer that supports us with grants
And just when we think we’ve seen it all
Along comes a live turkey and a squealing fat hog!
It is amazing how many ways people find to share their talents and wealth with those in need — all evidence of the big, generous heart of our Homer community.  It is delightful, looking over this rambling poem, to recognize how it all weaves together at the food pantry.  
This is an opportunity to share some needs. One of them is the tent project. We regularly have folks coming to us saying they are homeless and have nowhere to stay. What do you do? Options in Homer are limited and expensive. In winter a hotel room is often the only option, but temperatures are getting warmer, so we are inviting you to join us on our tent project.
If you have tents, sleeping bags or mats that you don’t need anymore, consider donating them to the Homer Community Food Pantry. When you see them going cheap at garage sales, think of us. No, don’t just “think” of us.  Explain, ask for a good deal and donate it. Our plan is to supply camping gear and help pay camping fees. We are forming a community committee to collect, store, monitor and lend them out. If you are interested in being on the committee, let us know.
Another need we have  — one that seems to be ever constant —  is the need for somebody to pick up donated food from Safeway and Save-U-More. It only takes an hour or so, but it needs to happen every day. Anyone willing to do that even just one day a week would be welcomed with open arms. We can reimburse for gas money.
We are always ready to take food donations — last year’s fish, this summer’s overflow of garden produce.  Items can be dropped off at the pantry on Mondays between 10 a.m. and 2 p.m., or contact us to make arrangements. Our message phone is 235-1968, or email:  homerfoodpantry@gmail.com.
 Here at the food pantry, we don’t expect to solve the problem of hunger and need in our community, but we endeavor to be a welcoming place where hurting people are treated with dignity and respect while they find practical help. We have the honor of being a bridge between those who have funds or food to share and those who need them. Our volunteers are amazing, caring people, our clients are so very grateful and the support from our community is incredibly encouraging.
Thank you, Homer.
Ruth Dickerson is  longtime volunteer and board member at the Homer Community Food Pantry. She currently serves as treasurer and secretary.