by TaLeiza Calloway
by TaLeiza Calloway
To the people driving up to the curb to drop off groceries and paper products, their act is a way to give back. For the people who will receive these items, this act means a meal for their families.
More families will benefit from this generosity after the second annual food shelf drive in St. Joseph. As cars drove up, volunteers greeted drivers with donuts, coffee or juice to thank them for their support. Volunteers and donors were also able to have their blood pressure checked during the event, thanks to the nursing department at the College of St. Benedict.
About 15 vehicles stopped by within the first hour of the event.
“This is just so nice,” Joan Skroch said of the food shelf drive.
This was the first time Skroch assisted with the drive. She was glad she did.
This focus of the community-wide effort this year was solely on food. No clothing drive was held this time around.
Tom Klecker, one of many organizers of the event, was pleased with the turnout this year.
“It’s gone pretty well,” Klecker said. “It’s a nice opportunity to get to know people and lends itself to a sense of community.
More than $1,500 in monetary donations was collected this year and loads of food and goods.
Volunteers and members of the St. Joseph Food Shelf board have seen a growing need in its use in the community. Food shelf board member Bernadette Ethan said events like the food shelf drive really make a difference.
“Donations haven’t been slow as much as the need has increased,” Ethen said. “We’ve never had to purchase as much as we have this summer. Any event helps the food shelf.”
Food-shelf staff recently purchased about $400 worth of meat, she said. The 80 pounds of chicken and 100 pounds of ground beef equates to between six weeks to a one-month supply.
The local food shelf served 54 families in September and 58 families in August, Ethen said. There have also been months when up to 70 families were assisted.
Ethen said awareness of the food shelf is one area that could help bring in more donations and more specifically items it lacks. Some of the needed items include diapers, dish soap, laundry detergent, crackers, tuna and canned fruit.
Bruce and Joy Tessen of Gateway Church were among the volunteers helping to greet donors and offer refreshments. Bruce is the pastor of Gateway Church.
Joy said church members responded positively to the chance to give back.
“I think people like to give to the community,” Joy Tessen said. “and to do it this way, I like that.”
Chuck Kern volunteered at the event last year. While he is happy to see people drive up and unload bags of food and paper products, he wishes it wasn’t necessary at all.
“It’s sad we have to keep doing this,” Kern said. “It’s unfortunate the economy hasn’t improved, but it’s nice to see the community and people willing to give so much.”
There was no one person or organization hosting this event. Several community organizations are involved in making the day happen. They include all local faith communities, the College of St. Benedict/St. John’s University, local Boy Scouts, the American Legion, the Knights of Columbus and the Lions Club, all of St. Joseph.
St. Joseph Food Shelf
Hours: 1-3 p.m. Mondays and Thursdays.
Donations can also be dropped off at Resurrection Lutheran Church and the Church of St. Joseph during business hours.
Needed items: diapers, laundry detergent, tomato sauce, ketchup, mustard, pancake mix, syrup, tuna, canned fruit, cereal, crackers, pork and beans and chicken noodle soup.