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Hammond group opens hearts to feed area families

A group that initially formed to help a family whose home burned down in a fire is making an effort to help the community at large through a food shelf drive.

Hearts of Hammond is working with several Hammond businesses to collect items for the Roberts Food Pantry this holiday season.

The group is collecting non-perishable food items through Christmas and will be delivering them to the Roberts Food Pantry, located at Roberts Congregational United Church of Christ.

"I think there's quite a few people in our community that are struggling," said Mark Benton, Hearts of Hammond president. Benton said he is involved in several other community groups (including the Hammond Village Board) that keep him busy, but making time for Hearts of Hammond is important to him.

"I guess, at the end of the day, I enjoy helping people," Benton said. "This is just another way of giving back."

Right now, Hearts of Hammond is giving back through the food drive. Donations can be dropped off at the Hammond Community Library, Sandy Brecht Photography, Holiday and Bob & Steve's Amoco now through Dec. 25.

Paulette Anderson, Hearts of Hammond member, said she has already seen donations accumulating in the donation boxes around Hammond. She said working with the food pantry is important, because there is always a need.

Roberts Food Pantry Director Roene Frederick said there are very few items the food pantry could not use right now, but she said they are in most need of non-food necessities like paper products, shampoo and cleaning products.

"We're very low right now on bar soap, of all things," Frederick said.

She said the food pantry goes through a lot of boxed meals

"Like your Chef Boyardee stuff," Frederick said. She said the food pantry is completely out of juice as well.

"It just makes you feel so good to know that you're helping those that are less fortunate," Frederick said. "We don't realize how many there are that are really in need."

Anderson said anyone interested in learning more about Hearts of Hammond or the food drive could contact her at

Gretta Stark

Gretta Stark has been a reporter for the River Falls Journal since July of 2013. She previously worked as a reporter for the New Richmond News from June 2012 to July 2013. She holds a BA in Print and Electronic Media from Wartburg College.

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