Need is up, so is giving

Looking back at 2012, the Homer Community Food Pantry has seen a gradual pattern of growth over our 21 years. Of our total income, 4 percent came from fundraisers (dinner, bake sale); 15 percent from grants, and a whopping 81 percent (3 percent more than 2011) came from private contributions from our own community. It is truly a beautiful thing — our community.
We see people from all walks of life getting involved: Delta Kappa Gamma with school supplies, our three grocery stores, our local farmers, the Rotary clubs, Board of Realtors, senior center, our hospital, Alaska USA Credit Union, the schools, the churches, the Girl and Boy Scouts, and our ever faithful “Mr. Potato Head” all help with food and financial support. The community’s involvement and regard for others is amazing.
Some facts that you might like to know about our pantry. In 2012, we:
* Provided 12,872 food boxes, 1,500 more than in 2011;
* Purchased an average of $1,500 a month of food for our clients, up 65 percent from 2011;
* Served three schools with healthy snacks;
* Packed food boxes for 28 families (60 adults and 50 children) across the bay at Nanwalek, Port Graham and Seldovia;
* Served more disabled, veterans, seniors, single female parent families and single male parent families than any previous year;
* Had 1,000 more volunteer hours than any other previous year;
* Distributed more senior boxes than any other year;
* Saw a significant rise in families needing help with heating costs;
* Helped more homeless individuals than ever before;
* Our income was up 27 percent from 2011, expenses were up 42 percent.
For the 16th consecutive year, the Feinstein grant will divide $1 million among hunger-fighting agencies nationwide. During the months of March and April, the more donations, both monetary and non-monetary, that are made to the pantry, the larger our share of that grant will be. If possible, please concentrate your donations during this time frame. Our community has been partnering with us for these past 16 years on this grant.
In December, Safeway promoted the $10 “Fight Hunger” bag program. Our generous community gave 459 bags. Wow. We were able to provide staples and brighten the holiday season for our clients. Also in December, our friends at McNeil Canyon School again provided us with their healthy, delicious soup kits.
We all are part of the solution to hunger and with your gracious support we will be able to continue to serve the hungry in our area. Our “all volunteer army” would like you to know how much we value your help as we strive to care for our neighbors. Thank you for the contributions you have made to this worthy cause. We are in this quest together.
Diana Jeska and Donna Wells
and the Homer Community Food Pantry Board