Empty pantries rely on residents for help

     It’s a luxury, really, to be able to pick and choose from a ready supply of food stored in your cupboard.
     When many families are searching for something for dinner, they head to the pantry and sort through the items, choosing one, and setting the others aside for another time.
     For some families, the cupboards are largely bare and they rely on food pantries to feed their families.
     When food pantries run out of food what happens?
     Families go hungry or stretch already meager groceries to cover the loss.
     In July, the food pantry at Victory Christian Fellowship Church had to close its doors for a month because their supplies dwindled to nothing. The pantry has since re-opened, but like many food pantries is in constant need of supplies.
     That’s where the United Way Day of Caring food drive can help.
     “Imagine if you had one week where you couldn’t get your groceries,” said United Way Day of Caring food drive organizer Donna Weber.
     Last year, the United Way Day of Caring food drive collected more than 3,200 items that were shared among seven Whitley County food banks.
     The food drive is back for its fourth year and helps fill a critical need at food banks before the holiday collections start.
     The goal for this year, said organizer Donna Weber, is simple: Exceed last year.
     Right now there are blue barrels at a variety of locations around the county, waiting to be filled with non-perishable food items.  Barrels are located for food collection at:
Columbia City:
Ace Hardware
STAR Bank/Insurance-Main
STAR Bank/Insurance-Frontage Rd.

South Whitley:
Dollar General
Crossroads Bank
Town Hall
Fox Products
SW Post Office
STAR Bank/Insurance
SW Public Library
Dollar General
STAR Insurance
     Each collection that is donated to these locations is kept within the community. Columbia City’s collection will be divided into the seven food banks, Churubusco’s collection will be divided into its two locations and South Whitley has one.
    Last year’s “Tag, you’re it” game will also be a part of this year’s food drive.  If you are selected by a community TAG team player, you are given two plastic grocery bags. You will fill one and give the other away to someone for them to fill. Last year’s collection was a HUGE success.
     Weber said it’s easy to fill a bag with just five bucks — the cost of a value meal at a fast-food restaurant or a cup of specialty coffee.
For more information on the food drive, or to participate in the “Tag, you’re it!” game, contact Weber at 248-6060.