Wheeling Township Food Pantry needs on the rise
The number of people in households that are utilizing the food pantry has continued to grow since the start of the pandemic; donations are welcomed.
Wheeling Township demonstrates its dedication to residents in many ways, including one of the most basic needs, by ensuring no one goes hungry. At the very start of the pandemic, the township began providing bags of food for any resident in need -- and continues to do so today. Over the last several months, the number of people in households utilizing the food pantry has risen substantially.
"As a township, our first responsibility is to make sure our residents have the resources, services and support they need," said Wheeling Township Supervisor Kathleen Penner. "Access to food is a critical need, and the township will continue being that resource for our residents, especially at a time when other options may not be available."
The significant increase in the number of distributions, which is a household with one or more people, is attributed to first-time visitors to the food pantry. While these have grown, what is more significant is the increase in the household/family size requesting food.
In January, there were 419 distributions representing 828 people being fed. Comparatively, in June, there were 568 distributions, or 1,575 people who utilized the food pantry -- nearly doubling the numbers since the start of the year.
Should a resident need food, pre-packed bags are available on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Thursdays between 9 a.m. and noon, and again between 1 and 4 p.m. Residents will need to provide a picture ID and proof of residency. Now that the Township building has reopened to the public, a mask is required to enter and to be in the building. Residents with questions should contact the township at (847) 259-7730 or email GA@wheelingtownship.com.
For community members wishing to make a difference, donations are always welcomed and appreciated. If someone would like to make a financial donation, checks should be made payable to the Wheeling Township Emergency Fund, Inc., which is a 501(c)(3) not-for-profit organization.
Donations of food are accepted Monday to Friday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Current food donation requests include jelly, tuna, macaroni & cheese, pasta sauce, packaged potatoes, canned vegetables, soup, and cereal.
Various community organizations, local businesses, and hundreds of citizens have made food and financial donations during the pandemic, as well as throughout the year.
"We are so thankful to all of our neighbors who remain steadfast in helping their neighbors in need," Penner said. "It is inspiring to see what can happen when people come together to help solve a problem."
The Wheeling Township Food Pantry opened 51 years ago. In 2019, 10,240 residents were fed, and 2,137 of those individuals were children.
For more information on how to make a donation to the Food Pantry, please call Julie Villarreal, Director of General Assistance at (847) 259-7730, or email GA@wheelingtownship.com.
Wheeling Township continues to make a significant difference in the community…as it has since 1850.