Donations pour into Milton Township food pantry
Milton Township Supervisor Chris Heidorn says he was "praying and hoping for a miracle" last week to save the township food pantry.
He got just the help he was looking for, thanks to readers of the Daily Herald.
Township officials said Friday that donations of food and money have been pouring in since the newspaper reported on Sept. 26 that the Wheaton pantry was down its last $681.
As of Friday morning, the pantry had received more than $11,000 in donations -- enough to purchase months of supplies from the Northern Illinois Food Bank to assist families in need. Donors also have been dropping off bags of food.
"It's been a great response," Heidorn said. "People are dropping stuff off, and there are promises of food drives from various schools."
The pantry has been operating since 1985 in space donated by the township inside its building at 1492 N. Main St. Because the pantry is run by volunteers, all the money it raises is used to buy food and toiletries.
But in recent years, donations have dropped dramatically, possibly due to the economy.
At the same time, the number of unemployed and underemployed township residents using the pantry each month has remained steady at about 500 people.
The financial situation became so dire that there was concern the pantry wasn't going to have enough cash for its next monthly food order on Oct. 10.
Now it has enough money in the bank to place orders through the end of holidays.
"I am just thankful that people paid attention," Heidorn said. "They looked into their hearts and gave what they could. It's wonderful."
And it wasn't just township residents who contributed.
"We were getting donations from people in Itasca and St. Charles," said Jackie Jones, a senior caseworker with the township's general assistance department. "It was coming from all over."
Jones said the food donations were badly needed because families are visiting the pantry daily. "As soon as the food is coming in, it's going out," she said.
Now township officials are hoping the giving will continue.
Donations can be sent to Milton Township Food Pantry, 1492 N. Main St., Wheaton, Illinois 60187. Food also can be dropped off at the pantry. For details, call (630) 668-1616.