Homer’s food pantry sees 18 percent increase in need for its services

Over the past 25 years the Homer Community Food Pantry has provided food to those in need. Only with Homer’s generous donations of food, money and volunteer hours can we help those seeking our services. Together, we are a bridge, sharing resources to address hunger and basic needs as we form a  local helping network. Meeting these needs can be consuming in time and personnel but our efforts are very practical and concrete.

Thanks to our gracious donors Safeway, Save-U-More, Kachemak Wholesale, Duncan House, K-Bay Caffé, The Bagel Shop, Homer Theater and the Senior Center and all who give each week we have the resources to share. Without them we could not continue to feed people and lift them up. The churches, businesses, organizations, schools, post office, the Haunted Hickory food drive and numerous individuals have been so faithful each year to this endeavor.

Some Facts About the Homer Pantry in 2015:

• Every day volunteers collect food donated by local stores that is stored until Monday.

• Every Monday about 30 volunteers set up and take down a “store” in about six hours.  About 100  households will be welcomed, signed in and have the opportunity to fill bags or boxes with food. At least 80 prepared meals will be distributed. At least 300 volunteer hours will be logged during the week. About 200 students will get snacks in five schools. Three non-profits will get food boxes for about 35 people.

• We provided food  to 21,212 adults and children last year, an average of 1,767 clients per month living from Ninilchik to Nanwalek.

• We purchased  an average of $2,438 a month on food.  More than 75 percent of the food we distribute is donated by our local community.

•  We distribute about 45 boxes to seniors each month. More than 300 senior boxes are dispensed throughout the Kenai Peninsula.  Carlile transported 15,350 pounds of senior boxes to us from Kenai.

• Pick, Click & Give contributed 6 percent of our income this year. Our third Empty Bowls fundraiser provided about 7 percent of our income. Seven churches who have contributed faithfully over the years provided 7 percent of our income.

• We helped an average of 20 families across the bay with food boxes each month delivered by Smokey Bay Air,

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

• Community groups such as Seldovia Village Tribe Clinic have representatives who come to the Pantry to inform clients on health and insurance issues. Hospice helps us with equipment and Family Planning comes with service information. 

• We have weekly updates on our Facebook page and produce a bi-annual newsletter.

• We have seen an 18 percent increase in the average number of households needing our services from 2014 to 2015.

Our 100 percent volunteer army are amazing and caring people.   The support from our community is incredibly encouraging. Thanks for another great year of walking beside us and lending us a hand whenever you can.

“A candle brightens wherever it goes.”  Thank you for being the candle light that brightens our  community.

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