After getting a , the New Lenox Township food pantry is looking forward to the fall, when kids go back to school and a couple big food drives will replenish the shelves.
In June, the food pantry had 360 visits, the most ever for a single month, family services manager Kathie Johnson said. She sent out an email begging for cereal and other goods from the community and said she had a lot of response.
"The call for help worked to get us through the summer," Johnson said.
In 2009, the township's food pantry saw about 166 food pickups per month, and through July 2010, the visits went up to about 208 per month. This year, however, monthly visits have boomed to an average of 272 through July:Month Jan. Feb. March April May June July # of visits 221 207 292 252 297 360 279
With kids heading back to school in the next week, Johnson anticipates a dip in visits, but admitted, "I don't know what to expect."
"But if we follow what's happened in the past, you have so many more kids getting hot lunches every day," she said. "We should be OK until the holiday season. It's not time to sound the alarm."
Although there were just four cans of ravioli left on the food pantry shelves Tuesday, Johnson said she was heading out to purchase more food. (The food pantry spends about $3,000 per month, though has dwindling reserves while relying heavily on donations.)
In addition to help from school cafeterias, a couple upcoming food drives will help the township food pantry through the fall. Johnson said has a community night this Friday at which there will be a food drive competition, and then the is having a drive Sept. 10.