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posted: 7/25/2012 2:30 PM

Food pantry experiencing drought of perishable food

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Like the weather outside, the FISH Food Pantry in Carpentersville is going through a drought of money its volunteers use to buy items such as meat, fruits and vegetables.

Volunteers need about $7,000 a month to buy the perishable food, said pantry President Mary Graziano.

"As it stands, we don't have enough money to cover one month's worth of food," she said. "Our shelves are getting dangerously low, too. I'm ready to write to local churches to ask them to tell their congregations that we need money and food."

Monetary and food donations traditionally decline in summer because schools have recessed for the summer, and members of many civic groups vacation and put their food drives on hold.

Unfortunately, the demand for the free food does not decline in the summer. In June, 428 families knocked on the pantry's door. Some are not working and some are working jobs that only pay minimum wage, Graziano said.

Pantry volunteers also need diapers for their clients who are on government subsidized food programs. Program benefits do not pay for the diapers. Also, they need toiletries, such as toilet paper.

"We have a lot of clients with babies around here, and diapers are expensive," she said.

Volunteers also need plastic and paper bags.

FISH is in the Meadowdale Shopping Center, 150 S. Kennedy Drive. It provides food for residents of Carpentersville, East and West Dundee, Sleepy Hollow and portions of Algonquin.

Volunteers are waiting for next month when some of their burden to fill their shelves could ease with donations of fresh fruits and vegetables neighbors grow in their gardens.

But who knows if the dry summer has wilted many gardens, she said.

"We're looking forward to the donations from gardeners," Graziano said. "Giving people fresh beans is much better than giving them a can of beans. With those donations we are able to fill a lot of bags."

Are you bilingual? Spanish-speaking volunteers are needed to help with clients.

The pantry is open from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday, as well as 6-8 p.m. Wednesday. Call (847) 428-4357

Donations can be mailed to the pantry at P.O. Box 102, Carpentersville, IL 60110.

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