Paula Peffley, Director of the Helping Hands Food Pantry in Montpelier, says that she is appreciative of all of the donations received by the pantry at their recent food drive but points out that the Pantry is still very much in need of monetary and perishable food donations to help assist those in need.
Helping Hands, located at 309 W. Washington Street in Montpelier, is a fully self-sufficient pantry staffed solely by volunteers who take no salary in return for their service. Monetary donations received and funds generated through fundraising events pay for overhead expenses such as utilities and building upkeep as well as to help keep food stocked on the pantry’s shelves.
While the recent food drive brought in $122 in cash donations and 755 pounds of food, that food isn’t likely to last long as the pantry has seen the number of families they assist grow as much as 40% over the last few months. Currently the pantry is serving approximately 140 families each month and each of those families averages between 50 and 75 pounds of food over a month – meaning the pantry needs as much as 10,000 pounds of food each month to continue to assist those in need.
Cash donations are always accepted and allow the pantry to both pay overhead as well as purchase food at the Toledo Food Bank, where the pantry can purchase bulk food items at 18 cents per pound. However, Peffley also points out that the food bank is also sometimes lacking in certain items. Of particular need at the pantry are non-perishable food items such as dry and canned goods. Meat and toilet paper are also in high demand and difficult for the pantry to keep in stock without help from the community.
The pantry is also asking that Williams County residents consider partnering with them by pledging $10 each month. It’s a small amount that has the potential to go a long way. As Peffley explains, if 200 people from Williams County would make that pledge, the pantry would have enough funds to keep the food shelves stocked, to cover all of their expenses including building maintenance, and to support their “Hands That Teach” program, which provides valuable education in life skills to those in need.
With the holiday season coming quickly upon us, the pantry expects to see the need for assistance to grow. Anyone who would like to help can stop by the pantry on Tuesday or Thursday between 11:00 AM and 1:00 PM or Thursday evenings between 5:30 PM and 7:30 PM.