With school in session and winter weather around the corner, needs of the food pantry increase.
Gail Strasser with The Exchange, housed in the Lennox Ebenezer Presbyterian Church, said this time of year is typically the time of year that they see an increase in patronage.
“Once school starts, it seems like there’s a higher need,” Strasser said. “It’s usually the winter months that are the busiest.”
During the last eight months with the pandemic, Strasser said the number of people seeking help from the food pantry has varied from day to day.
Roger Haugo with Valley Exchange Bank and Exchange Insurance Agency is pledging a match up to $500 for all monetary donations made to the food pantry from now through Dec. 18. Checks can be dropped off at The Exchange at the church with a notation that the donation is for the food pantry.
“When we receive monetary donations, then I can put things into the freezer. Monetary donations help provide things like margarine, bread, lunch meat, hamburger, cheese and hotdogs,” Strasser said.
Right now the food pantry can use baking items like oil, flour, sugar, salt, pepper, muffin mixes and cake mixes. They could also use cereal, powdered milk, canned milk, coffee, tea and Hamburger Helper. Canned fruit of any kind, salad dressing, ketchup, mustard and packets of seasoning are also needed.
Going into the colder months, Strasser said they can use soups. In particular, they could use chunky, hearty soups.
Besides food items, The Exchange also accepts personal care items. Right now they can use toilet paper, Kleenex, dish soap, laundry soap, shampoo, deodorant, disposable razors and cleaning items like Lysol or Clorox.
To make monetary or food donations, the food pantry is open Mondays 2-3 p.m., Wednesdays 3:30-4:30 p.m. and Saturdays 9-10 a.m. Strasser noted that The Exchange is closed if they land on any holidays or if school is cancelled due to the weather. To enter the food pantry, people should enter through the west door on the north side of the building.
With COVID-19, they are taking precautions for visitors.
“We are remaining open with COVID and we are asking that they wear a mask. And, we have a big bottle of hand sanitizer. We have them sanitize their hands when they come into the pantry and when they leave the pantry so that they hopefully don’t pick anything up from us or vice versa,” Strasser said.