The Weymont Food Pantry’s Thanksgiving Basket Program needs some help.
“Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for what you have,” said Carrie Kolz, secretary of the pantry’s board of directors.
Every November, the food pantry gives out Thanksgiving baskets to the pantry’s recipients.
Each one includes a $10 meat voucher, potatoes, a box of stuffing and the necessary ingredients to make green bean casserole and also a pie.
This year, the organization is facing the same situation it faced a year ago – expenses that are higher than income.
As a result, the board is asking for cash donations so it can include everything in them.
“We’re about $7,000 in the red,” Kolz said. “Cash donations are down.”
A year ago, the pantry’s net loss was $10,541, and the board decided to cancel the Thanksgiving program after seeing a decrease in cash donations and a cut to the U.S. Government Commodities Food Program
After the announcement, the pantry received a donation from an individual who wanted to remain anonymous and also cash donations from local civic groups.
Weymont Food Pantry was then able to offer the annual Thanksgiving program, serving about 90 families in the Weyauwega-Fremont School District.
When the pantry’s board met earlier last month, it estimated about 80 families would be eligible for a baskets this year and decided to move forward with it.
However, since then, there have been at least 20 new applicants at the pantry.
On Nov. 1, letters went out to 116 families. They are due back on Nov. 10.
“We’d like to have the same basket that we’ve had for years,” Kolz said.
She said potatoes are generally donated for the Thanksgiving baskets.
When the Boy Scouts and two local churches held food drives last month, they requested stuffing and the ingredients for pie and green bean casserole.
Kolz said those items have been put aside for the baskets, and Churny employees also donated items for the Thanksgiving program.
However, she said not enough items were collected, which means the pantry’s board will have to purchase more of them.
In addition, a $10 meat voucher for KD’s IGA will be needed for each basket.
“If all 116 get a basket, and you take that times $10 each,” Kolz said, the pantry needs $1,160 to cover the meat vouchers plus funds for items needed as they put the baskets together.
The amount of food in each Thanksgiving basket is based on the number of people in the family.
Kolz said eight volunteers will put them together on Friday, Nov. 16. They will then be distributed to the families on Saturday, Nov. 17.
She said the pantry is not at the level of financial difficulty it was a year ago.
“We’re making it because of donations from the churches, Boy Scouts, school groups. We’re still not buying some things we used to buy like dish soap,” she said. “We’re trying to ease hunger in our little school district.”
Kolz said the board appreciates those who helped make last year’s Thanksgiving program possible. They hope there are people who can help with this year’s program, too.
“We like to do it because it makes those families have a holiday, too,” she said.
Those who would like to donate funds for the pantry’s Thanksgiving program may drop them off at the pantry from 9-11 a.m. or 5:30-7 p.m. Monday, Nov. 12. They may be mailed to the Weymont Food Pantry at P.O. Box 281, Weyauwega, WI 54983.
Each person who donates to the pantry receives a “thank you,” and Kolz said those who want a receipt noting their donation should either let the volunteers know – if donating in person – or include a note saying so when mailing a donation.
Kolz also reminds deer hunters that those who do not want their venison may donate it to a food pantry through the state’s donation program. Locally, Niemuth’s Steak & Chop Shop in Waupaca is a drop-off site.