By Diana Jeska
Looking back at 2012, the Homer Community Food Pantry has seen a gradual pattern of growth over our 21 years.
Of our total income, 4 percent came from fundraisers (dinner, bake sale); 15 percent from grants, and a whopping 81 percent (3 percent more than 2011) came from private contributions from our own community. It is truly a beautiful thing.
We see people from all walks of life getting involved: Delta Kappa Gamma with school supplies, our three grocery stores, our local farmers, the Rotary Clubs, Board of Realtors, Senior Center, our Hospital, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, our schools, churches, Girl and Boy Scouts and our ever-faithful “Mr. Potato Head” all help with food and financial support. The community’s involvement and regard for others is amazing.
Here are some interesting facts you might like to know about our food pantry.
In 2012, we:
• Provided 12,872 food boxes — 1,500 more than in 2011;
• Spent an average of $1,500 a month on food for our clients; up 65 percent from 2011;
• Served three schools with healthy snacks;
• Packed food boxes for 28 families (60 adults, 50 children) across the Bay at Nanwalek, Port Graham and Seldovia;
• Served more disabled people, veterans, seniors and single-parent families than any previous year;
• Had 1,000 more volunteer hours than any other previous year;
• Distributed more CSFP (senior boxes) than any other year;
• Saw a significant rise in families needing help with heating costs;
• Helped more homeless individuals than ever before.
Our income was up 27 percent from 2011. Expenses were up 42 percent. For the 16th consecutive year, the Feinstein grant will divide $1 million among hunger-fighting agencies nationwide.
During the months of March and April, the more donations — both monetary and in-kind — that are made to the pantry, the larger our share of that grant will be. If possible, please concentrate your donations during this time frame. Our community has been partnering with us for these past 16 years on this grant.
Again this December, Safeway promoted the $10 “Fight Hunger” bag program. Our generous community gave 459 bags. Wow! We were able to provide staples and brighten the holiday season for our clients.
Also in December, our friends at McNeil Canyon School again provided us with their healthy, delicious soup kits.
We are all part of the solution to hunger, and with your gracious support, we will be able to continue to serve the hungry in our area.
Our “all-volunteer army” would like you to know how much we value your help as we strive to care for our neighbors. Thank you for the contributions you have made to this worthy cause. We are in this quest together.
Diana Jeska, Donna Wells and the HCFP Board
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