Roberts Food Pantry gets matching donationsLocal residents who give to the Roberts Food Pantry will potentially have their donations doubled, thanks to an organization from Rhode Island.
By: Laura Kruse, New Richmond News
Local residents who give to the Roberts Food Pantry will potentially have their donations doubled, thanks to an organization from Rhode Island.
The Feinstein Foundation has been giving away $1 million a year to anti-hunger agencies for the past 11 years. Each participating agency gets at least $250, and up to $40,000. This year, the Roberts Food Pantry will participate in the drive for the first time.
Any private or business donations given to the pantry will be combined for the total. Food donations will count as $1 per item or per pound. The total dollar amount taken in from March 1 to April 30 is reported to the Feinstein Foundation. In the summer, each agency gets their percentage of the foundation’s $1 million that reflects their percentage of the total money raised by all participating agencies.
Finding an opportunity like this seems almost too good to be true, said volunteer Mary Thorsen.
“We didn’t know what to think of it either,” she said. “A couple hundred dollars would be a major boon for us though.”
The information was given to the pantry by Second Harvest. Other area food donation agencies have participated in the past.
According to most current report on the Feinstein Foundation Web site, the Christian Food Cupboard in Hudson got $268.51 in 2005. The Pierce County Department of Human Services pantry was issued a check for $304.37 that same year.
The Feinstein Foundation, led by Alan Shawn Feinstein, doesn’t make any money with this campaign.
The reason for funding it, according to a press release, is “Because I believe each of us was put here on earth to do what we can to help those in need.”
It apparently works too. Not only do the food agencies get additional money from the Feinstein Foundation, local donations also increase during the drive.
“In the past seven consecutive years since Mr. Feinstein has offered it, more than 3,000 participating agencies nationwide have used it to raise more than $350 million. It has become the most successful grassroots campaign to fight hunger ever in this country,” states the Web site, www.feinsteinfoundation.com.
The Roberts Food Pantry is just beginning its spring food drive. The holiday drive was overwhelmingly successful, Thorsen said.
Area residents, churches and organizations can always be counted on to help fill the shelves.
“The St. Croix Central Schools are just unbelievable,” said Thorsen. Recently, the kindergarten classes combined to give 600 items, and another drive brought about $700 in donations.
“The little kids look pretty proud too,” said volunteer Dennis Thorsen.
Although the food pantry usually manages to hold its own, the need continues to grow.
“The amount of food that comes in one week and goes is just amazing,” Mary said.
In January 2008, 26 families took 1,400 pounds of food. This January, 41 families needed 4,000 pounds of food from the pantry. The pantry is open to any families living in the St. Croix Central School District.
“They can only come once a month, so we try to be generous,” Mary said.
Overall, there’s about a 25 percent increase in users of the pantry, Mary said.
Donations may be dropped off at the Roberts Food Pantry from 9 a.m.-11:30 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays, or from 6:30-8 p.m. on Wednesdays. Those in need may also pick up food at those times.
The Roberts Food Pantry is located in the United Congregational Church of Christ at 1001 Birch Drive in Roberts. The pantry is not affiliated with the church.
For more information, call the pantry at 715-749-3478.