Homer Alaska - Letters

Story last updated at 3:02 PM on Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Need is up, giving is down

In looking back at 2011, the Homer Community Food Pantry has seen gradual changes and a continuous pattern of growth over our 20 years. Last year, the Homer community gave 45,000 pounds of food which is awesome. Of our total income, 11 percent comes from fundraisers, 10 percent from grants, but a whopping 79 percent comes from private contributions from our own community. Isnt that something?

We see people from all walks of life get involved: Delta Kappa Gamma with school supplies, Harvest for H.O.P.E. with vegetables and warm clothing, the Rotary Clubs, Board of Realtors, Homer Senior Center, Alaska USA Federal Credit Union, the schools, the churches, the Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts with both food drives and financial support. The communitys involvement with regard for others is amazing.

For the 15th consecutive year, the Feinstein Grant will divide $1 million among hunger-fighting agencies nationwide, using it to raise food and funds. During the month of March and April, the more donations, both monetary and non-monetary that are made to the pantry, the larger our share of the grant can be. Our community has partnered with us on the grant for 15 years now.

Some facts about the Pantry, you might like to know. In 2011:

n We served 27,345 food boxes.

n We purchased an average of $1,000 a month on food for our clients.

n We served three schools with healthy snacks.

n Approximately 25 families received food boxes weekly across the bay thanks to Homer Air and Smokey Bar Air.

n Our income was down 13 percent from 2010 and expenses were up 23 percent.

n Emergency utilities, gas, and fuel expenses were all up.

n We lost two board members: Hulkia Strydom and Helene Morawitz, and soon a third, Donnie Campbell will move.

In 2012:

n We have seen a significant rise in families needing help with heating costs in January and February.

n We have also helped more homeless individuals by two-thirds.

n We have a need for a fundraising committee as we lack volunteers to fulfill this need. Any help would be appreciated.

We are all part of the solution to hunger here. Our all volunteer army wants you to know we see this as a partnership, a collective group who care about their neighbors. Keep up the good work, Homer

Diana Jeska and the

Homer Community Food Pantry Board