From left to right, Wim Steenbakkers, Deb Smith and Ray Quintana serve soup at the annual Homer Community Food Pantry’s Empty Bowls fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, at Homer United Methodist Church in Homer, Alaska. Quintana was visiting from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and volunteered his time during this stay. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

From left to right, Wim Steenbakkers, Deb Smith and Ray Quintana serve soup at the annual Homer Community Food Pantry’s Empty Bowls fundraiser on Friday, Nov. 8, 2019, at Homer United Methodist Church in Homer, Alaska. Quintana was visiting from Albuquerque, New Mexico, and volunteered his time during this stay. (Photo by Michael Armstrong/Homer News)

Point of View: ‘We want to help’ is common theme at Food Pantry

“We want to help” is a theme I’ve heard frequently while volunteering for the Homer Community Food Pantry.

It is what Tommy Blaine at McNeil Canyon Meats said when he provided more than $1,000 in processing costs for meat donated to the Food Pantry. Helping those in need is why Marshall Bullock and others from the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary stood in the cold of the night collecting nearly 3,000 pounds of canned goods during the Haunted Hickory and why our local Coast Guard volunteers their time to thrill our town’s residents every Halloween.

Wanting to help has resulted in crates of can goods generously donated from Uncle Herb’s and other local food drives that augments the more than 1,000 cans of food distributed, along with perishable food, every Monday at the Food Pantry.

Giving back to our community is why David Webb and Susie Quinn of Petro Marine gave more than $10,000 to the Food Pantry early in the year during their annual spirit of giving.

Smokey Bay Air generously and consistently volunteers to fly more than 30 boxes of food across Kachemak Bay to needy families every month.

When asked if she would power up her walk-in freezers and help move and store nearly 300 Thanksgiving turkeys for the Food Pantry, Nancy Hillstrand at Coal Point quickly responded “absolutely.” We at the Food Pantry are pleasantly challenged in finding space to store many pallets stacked high with non-perishable food items than come in from the Safeway holiday food drive this time of year.

The examples of generous community giving are too diverse to list completely.

On behalf of the Homer Food Pantry, I give a very heartfelt thank you to all those generous souls in this community that want to help. This community aid is essential to serve the growing number of individuals and families that truly need this help to get by.

Typically, we see 150-200 households seeking our services every week at the Homer Food Pantry hosted at the Methodist Church every Monday from 1-3 p.m.

Along with providing food, our pantry tries to make a dent in addressing the needs of our fellow citizens who face eviction or homelessness, to those who are at risk of losing heat or electricity in their homes, and other varied struggles.

Our community’s generosity is great, but the growing need seems to be one step ahead of the available charity. The need is overwhelming.

You don’t have to be a superhero to help. While food and monetary donations are always welcome, you are always invited to come to the Food Pantry Monday mornings and help set up, organize and distribute food.

Come and see some of the need in your community. Better yet, make it a regular part of your Monday routine. A

s a side benefit, surrounding yourself with the army of volunteers at the Homer Food Pantry that exude the “we want to help” spirit is about as energizing as it gets.

Thomas McDonough is a volunteer and board member of the Homer Community Food Pantry. Visit homerfoodpantry.org for more information.

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