ROCKFORD, Ill. (WTVO) — Thanksgiving is a little more than a week away, so food pantries are preparing to feed families in need of a meal.
The Rock River Valley Pantry said it has not had as much luck with turkey donations compared to last year. The pantry is community-based, so it relies solely on contributions. Staff members are able to purchase food at two to three times the retail rate when going through food brokers.
That is why Kim Adams-Bakke, executive director of the Rock River Valley Pantry, said a donated dollar goes such a long way.
“Donors make all the difference to the people who are in need of food,” Adams-Bakke said.
Donations are needed more than ever at local food pantries during this time of year. Adams-Bakke said their goal is to help as many families as possible with two big holidays coming up.
“As a food pantry, we focus more on Thanksgiving because it is a time for families to gather and have a nice holiday meal together,” Adams-Bakke said.
Rock River Valley Pantry starts preparing in August, according to Adams-Bakke, by asking donors to fund the pantry’s Thanksgiving campaign.
“And when the money starts to come in, then we order boxes of nonperishable goods, as well as turkeys, and then we also add a lot of different other items to those boxes,” she said. “We add the extras; a pie, rolls, butter, and a gallon of milk, green beans for the traditional green bean casserole, so I would say we’re up around $40 by the time the food box is complete.”
Adams-Bakke said the pantry is seeing increased costs just like everyone else. It’s also seeing fewer turkey donations from the community in return.
“We feel the impact every single day, as do our donors,” she said. “Our client numbers are up 97% from a year ago, so we’re assisting right now over 3,500 individuals. Last month we had 240 new households.”
The most-needed items at the pantry include canned fruits and vegetables, peanut butter, pasta, rice, cereal, and soups. Staff are also still accepting turkey donations until Christmas.