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Gays Mills Food Pantry needs help during the holidays
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With holidays here, food prices climbing, and the economy still struggling the need for food pantries is still strong. As elsewhere, so here at home and the Gays Mills Food Pantry is looking for a little help to meet the community’s need.

“Donations are down,” explained pantry coordinator Sue Fry. “Food prices have gone up and so have the numbers of families visiting the pantry.”

Not long ago, the pantry served an average of 75 families a month. That number has climbed, with the pantry now serving approximately 90 families a month.

“We’ve been fortunate and been able to give families a good week of food,” Fry said. But with donations down, they have had to focus funds on food, cutting back on necessary essentials like toilet paper and soap.

The Methodist, Lutheran and Catholic churches in Gays Mills sponsor the pantry. Each takes a turn helping staff the pantry every third month, though volunteers and donors don’t have to be part of a church to help.

“All the orchards remember us and send food down,” Fry noted. “Sunrise had a pumpkin person contest where the winners could pick a charity to receive the prize. We received $150 from winner donations.’

Fry also said the schools, 4-H, girl scouts, and other civic organizations regularly help support the effort through monetary donations and food drives.

It takes about 30 volunteers altogether to run the pantry, with seven volunteers staffing each time they are open.

Operating costs to cover food purchases, vouchers for select items from the Marketplace, rent and utilities runs about $2000 per month.

With funds becoming the tight, the Gays Mills Food Pantry could use some assistance.

Donations can be dropped off anytime the pantry is open:

• the first Saturday of each month from 9-11 a.m.;

• and the first, second, and third Wednesdays of each month rom 2-4 p.m.

To arrange a donation drop off at a different time, please call Fry at 608-485-0541.

You can also make a donation in someone else’s name for the holidays. Gift certificates showing the donation are available upon request.

The pantry tries to supply those who use the services with vegetables, proteins such as tuna and chicken, peanut butter, canned fruits, entrée sauces, soups, starches (noodles, rice, and other rains), meal mixes, breakfast food, and basic personal hygiene products.