Judy Mollway, President of the Portage Township Food Pantry, spoke at the June 11 breakfast meeting of the Portage Exchange Club at Miller’s Assisted Living Meeting Room. She discussed the needs of the Pantry in serving Portage residents and talked about the resources that the Pantry uses.
“We really depend upon the kindness of the community,” Mollway said “Our staff is all volunteer, but we have to purchase food and food cost have gone up. We are spending more but have served fewer people. We can provide one basket per family per month. That will take someone over the hump, but it won’t feed them for the month.
“Our electric bill is $450 per month because we have ten freezers going at all times to provide frozen protein. Plus our building is old, so it doesn’t use electricity as efficiently as we might hope. We also pay $69 a month for Internet even though we only use it for a few hours each week. We appreciate all donations.
Mollway praised local businesses that donate on a regular basis. Town and Country, Al’s Supermarket, WalMart and Big Lots “have been wonderful.” Brownberry Breads in Griffith provide day old bread, as long as a volunteer can pick it up.
“Doug Simkin has been invaluable in making that run to Brownberry,” she said.
The summer months provide more healthy choices for the patrons but also more challenges.
“We get fresh produce from the city’s gardens, as well as individuals who donate extras from their gardens. This is a great benefit to our families. But kids are home from school, so they eat more at home. This puts more of a burden on the parents.”
There are many ways that organizations and individuals can help the Portage Food Pantry.
“We love donations, whether monetary or food, but we also need some volunteers,” Mollway said. “Our pantry volunteers are aging and we need strong young people, at least 18 years of age, to help out with some of the heavy lifting.”
If you would like to help, you can serve by:
Helping unload trucks on some Thursdays and the occasional Wednesday from 8:30 – 11:00 a.m.
Work on distribution days, the first, third and fourth Fridays from 9:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. and the second Thursday from 3:00 – 7:00 p.m.
Be on call with a pick-up truck to pick up loads of food when it becomes available
Be part of the Patron Program, in which you donate monthly.
If you can help in any of these way, please call Judy Mollway at (219) 742-3141.