Firefighters coordinate Elburn pantry holiday food drive

By on November 22, 2013

Elburn firefighters to collect donations at Elburn Jewel-Osco
Sunday, Nov. 24 • 9 a.m. – noon
Or drop off items at either Fire Station No. 1 or No. 2 now through the New Year

ELBURN—Firefighters from the Elburn and Countryside Fire Protection District will be at the Jewel Osco on Sunday, Nov. 24, collecting food items for the Elburn Food Pantry.

Matt Hanson, who has been a firefighter with the Elburn District for the past 12 years, said this is the fourth year that the Fire District has been collecting items for the pantry around the holidays.

“The holiday is just an easy time to remind people (that the food pantry can use their help),” Hanson said.

Firefighters will be stationed at the Jewel on Sunday from 9 a.m. to noon to accept donations. They will have a list of the food and other items the food pantry needs, and the Jewel will assemble a display of these items, as well.

“We want to make it as easy as possible for people to help,” Hanson said.

The items needed are things such as canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, beans, macaroni and cheese dinners, box potatoes and rice, as well as tuna, chicken or hamburger helper, and even toilet paper and bar soap.

Last year, the firefighters collected a “huge amount of food” at the Jewel.

“We filled up a whole pickup truck,” Hanson said. “The community really rallies and has been great every year.”

Hanson said that the Fire Department is pretty active in the community, and because they are “out and about” quite a bit, they see the need.

Elburn Food Pantry coordinator Rita Burnham said that Hanson and the Fire District have been great to work with.

“They do all the work,” she said. “They pack up all the food and sort it for us, so it’s really easy. They’ve been very successful (with their drive).”

In addition to the collection at Jewel, people who wish to contribute food and other items can drop them off at either of the two fire stations in the village. If it is difficult for an individual to get to the station, Hanson said they can call the station, and “we’ll do our best to come and collect it.”

It varies each week, but Burnham said that, on average, the food pantry serves between 40 and 45 families. The pantry is located in the Elburn Community Center, and is open on Thursday evenings.

“The number always increases in the winter,” she said. “Not everyone comes every week.”

People must live in the Kaneland School District and show some proof of residency, Burnham explained. Other than that, there is no eligibility requirement.

The bags of food and other items are packed based on the size of the family, with enough food for about two days, she said.

People may also write a check to the Countryside Food Pantry and mail it to P. O. Box 654 in Elburn.
They may also drop off items at the Elburn Community Center inside the side door, next to the parking lot.

The food pantry is made possible through the support of many community groups, including a number of churches, The Elburn Lions Club, schools and local farmers, Burnham said.

“It’s a real huge effort,” she said. “Everyone is a volunteer.”