What a year it has been for the Monroe Food Pantry.
Families needing support nearly tripled in number once the effects of COVID 19 hit.
And with social distancing, we couldn’t pack food as we always did with a group of four or five volunteers working in a tightly spaced area.
Add to that the elimination of our most used packaging material - plastic shopping bags – and you certainly have hurdles to overcome.
But as the year progressed, we found ways to conquer these challenges.
Our local grocery stores contributed alternate packaging material and provided occasional freezer space so we could provide frozen meat.
And then there are our volunteers.
Without them we would have had to close. There has been a dedicated handful of volunteers that have packed the boxes every two weeks for the last nine months. They have either packed the dry goods box during the week or have come early on Saturday morning to pack the perishables box.
Additional support has also come from members of the community and the Girl Scouts who have helped by packing boxes for our major distributions like Thanksgiving. On Saturday, November 6, the Girl Scouts and numerous community volunteers came together and packed the dry goods for the first November distribution and the Thanksgiving distribution.
In all, they packed close to 200 boxes. Our many thanks go out to all of these volunteers.
The Girl Scouts deserve an added thanks as they additionally prepared more than 65 pies that they delivered last Saturday for the Thanksgiving distribution. The baking of pies by the Girl Scouts for Thanksgiving has become a tradition that goes back more years than I can recall. Their baking has truly been a blessing as it not only adds a homemade touch to the food distributed, but it also keeps our costs down. Pies are the second most expensive item given out lagging behind only the turkey. And with monetary donations down, this support of donated pies can be described as nothing less than phenomenal.
In all, the Monroe Food Pantries distributed a full Thanksgiving meal to 84 families, a number not seen in many years. We had to run out to the local grocery stores several times at the last minute to get extra turkeys, pies, and rolls but did manage to provide every family with a full Thanksgiving feast.
Happy Thanksgiving to all and again our sincere thanks to those in the community that have over the year donated food or made a monetary contribution, and especially to all those in the community who have donated their time in helping to pack and distribute the food.