CARTHAGE — Grateful for the support given to the food pantry, the Village Ecumenical Ministries is hosting a Community Appreciation Day from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 10 at the pantry, 495 S. Washington St.
“We want to give back, have fun and raise awareness,” Jody C. Mono, food pantry coordinator, said. “We want to say, thank you people for being here.”
The celebration will include live music by “Undefeated,” raffles and refreshments of hot dogs and chips.
A letter sent in July to businesses stated that last year at this time, the pantry had served 2,583 individuals from Jan. 1, through June 30, 2018. This year, during the same time period, the pantry has served 2,796 individuals — an equivalent of 3,195 more meals than 2018.
“We are seeing an increase in families in need in this community, as well as an increase in costs to keep our pantry stocked,” states the letter, noting the need increases from July through December.
The organization has begun to plan for its Christmas giveaway, during which families are given food for a holiday meal and gifts.
“Last year we spent over $5,000 to ensure 285 families for a total of 823 individuals consisting of children, adults and seniors would have a good Christmas dinner,” states the letter. “This is over and above the thousands of food items that were donated. We also had 309 children who received gifts from the Angel tree which is sponsored in various locations throughout the community. However, this too has expenses that need to be covered when angels do not get filled or returned. We spend the final moments before distribution checking to make sure each family has something for every child in that home. We have made trips to the store the day of distribution!”
After the letter went out to businesses, Amanda Powell, an accountant for CEM Machine, put out a challenge to businesses and individuals to donate.
“CEM Machine is challenging you or your business to collect all of your spare change, make a monetary or non-perishable food drive goal and crush it by Nov. 15,” states the challenge. “All money and items collected will help the VEM Food Pantry give children and families who have fallen on hard times the ability to celebrate and enjoy the Christmas season with less worry and more joy.”
CEM has the goal of collecting $1,000 in change prior to Nov. 15.
Ms. Powell has set a personal goal of convincing 50 people to donate $20 each to the food pantry. “Put your goal out to the public to challenge friends or other businesses ... making it competitive will drive up the donations and make it fun to participate,” she said.
She suggested hosting food drives or providing gifts for the Angel Tree.
For more information about the food pantry or to inquire about conducting a fundraiser or making a donation, call 315-493-1341 during hours of operation or visit the website at www.carthagefoodpantry.org or the Facebook page at www.facebook.com/vemcarthagefoodpantry.
The pantry is open 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday and Friday; 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and Thursday, 5 to 7 p.m. Wednesday, and 10 a.m. to noon the second Saturday of each month.