PORTAGE | The Portage Exchange Club welcomed two representatives from the Portage Food Pantry to its October 31 meeting. Board member Linda Roque and Director of Volunteers Sarah Tracy gave the club an update on the Pantry’s needs and activities.
Tracy shared some eye-opening statistics: between October 2011 and September 2012, the Pantry handled over 394,700 pounds of food. This included food received from the USDA (over 126,000 lbs.), food purchased from local Food Banks (141,000 lbs.) and food donated by the community (over 118,000 lbs.). The food from the community included fresh produce grown in the three community gardens and by individuals.
During that time period, the pantry served 7380 families that included 20,036 people.
“As soon as the food comes in, it goes out,” Tracy said.
Both Tracy and Roque praised the citizenry for its generosity.
“The whole Portage Township community is so caring, so giving. We are very blessed to live in Portage,” Tracy said. “We get both donations and help from the schools, churches, businesses, individuals and organizations like you. We are also supported by surrounding communities like Lake Station and Hobart.”
The women provided a “Wish List” for donations that included items such as toilet paper, disposable diapers and other hygiene items that cannot be purchased with food stamp, as well staples like peanut butter; canned soups, fruits and vegetables; pasta, rice, and beans; and baby food and formula.
“We can buy a lot more of certain items through the Food Bank than one person could buy as an individual,” Roque said. “Cash is always welcome. We can get more ‘bang for the buck.’”
Besides donations, the Food Pantry is always in need of volunteers.
The Pantry is located in the former Adult Education Building, now New Vistas High School, 5391 Central Ave. Portage, Indiana 46368. It is open the first, third and fourth Friday of each month from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. It is also open the second Thursday of the month from 4 – 7 p.m. to accommodate working families. People may drop off or pick up food during these hours. To check on a date, please call (219) 742-3141 or go to http://portage-food-pantry.org/Home.php.
Tracy emphasized that the Pantry will be closed the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Treasurer Mike Lemond presented Tracy and Roque with a check for $500 from the Exchange Club and thanked them for their hard work.