While many of us spent our holiday feasting on an abundance of food, the sad reality is that many individuals and families have trouble putting food on the table throughout the year. Those in Lansing are fortunate to have two organizations that are run and operated entirely by volunteers to help feed those in our community. And while donations are often at their peak around the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays, not far into the new year the supplies are dwindling and donations are fewer, so please keep the Lansing Food Pantry and Meals on Wheels in mind in 2014.
Both programs are supported entirely by the community and do not operate on any government funds. All donations stay in the Lansing community. It’s neighbors helping neighbors, something that has always been a priority in Lansing.
The Lansing Food Pantry has existed for more than 30 years and it supplies food for those in need in Lansing and is open once a week for food pick-ups, but volunteers work throughout the week ensuring that food is on the shelves for those who need it. Donations of nonperishable food and toiletry items can be dropped off from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesdays or by appointment by calling (708) 895-3807. Monetary donations can also be made to help the volunteers purchase needed items.
It was great to also see the community support when the pantry was recently in need of a replacement van. A total of $17,000 in donations came in to purchase a van for use by the pantry when donations need to be picked up to distribute.
Meals on Wheels was started many years ago at the urging of Don Jenkins, who was a member of First United Methodist Church and a manager at Burger’s supermarket (which is now Strack and Van Til in Munster.) It continues today, still operated out of a basement kitchen at the church serving approximately 70 individuals a week.
A recent review of finances showed they would have to bring in more money to continue the program and starting in January the cost will go up from $3 a meal to $4 a meal and milk will no longer be provided. So it will now cost recipients $8 a week for the meals that are prepared and delivered by volunteers on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Unfortunately, there are seniors depending on those meals who aren’t able to pay that amount and Meals on Wheels has been reaching out to the village’s service organization to ask for help providing meals to those who can’t pay. “Out of those 70 there are probably about 20 who aren’t able to pay, but we’re not going to cut them out. We truly have some seniors who just can’t afford to pay, but are still deserving of a hot meal,” said JoAnn Kijewski, who is the co-coordinator of the program. The number of those served also fluctuates as there are those who receive meals temporarily when they may be recovering from a surgery or illness.
Individuals in town are also welcome to sponsor some of those who need the meals but are unable to pay and you know that your donation will go directly to help someone in the village with no administrative costs. A $32 donation will feed someone for a month. A total of $192 would sponsor someone for six months and $384 would provide the twice weekly hot meals for a year. If you’d like to donate, checks can be made out to Meals on Wheels and sent to: First United Methodist Church, 18420 Burnham Ave., Lansing, Ill. 60438.
If you’re unable to make a financial donation, but would like to help in other ways, Meals on Wheels is always in need of volunteers, who buy food, prepare meals, bake desserts or deliver meals. If you’d like to volunteer or are in need of services, call JoAnn at (708) 474-4583 or Elaine at (708) 474-8276.