Grafton Food Pantry Reaches Out Online
Food pantry launches website to help people in need.
Grafton Food Pantry now has a website it hopes will reach those who need help and generate more support for its mission of feeding local families.
The food pantry launched the site, www.graftonfoodpantry.org, Monday with the help of Huntley resident Chrissy Hoover.
"We are excited, it's just a way to get the current information out there," said John Rossi, who founded the food pantry. "Our mission is to let people be aware of the pantry and the services we provide. It was important to get out our message so the website was perfect."
Hoover, who moved to Huntley in June, did not know much about the food pantry but heard the nonprofit needed a website. She decided to create one as part of a school project. She is studying management online through Eastern Michigan University and got an A on the project.
The site has basic information that had not been readily available. Information such as location, contact information and hours were not easily found, Hoover said. Graftonfoodpantry.org includes ways to donate and where donations can be dropped off.
There's also information about hunger in America. According to the website, one in six Americans are fighting hunger.
The Grafton Food Pantry served 200 families this Christmas, up by 30 families from last year, Rossi said. It started four years ago with 25 families, he said.
Like food pantries across the region, state and nation, Grafton Food Pantry has seen its number increase year to year. What Rossi finds interesting is the pantry doesn't see the same families over and over. The major reason families come to the pantry is due to a loss of work. As those families find work, others are losing their jobs, Rossi said. The turnover keeps the food pantry's numbers steadily increasing, he said.
"We've had to budget significantly more for food this year," Rossi said. "Fortunately for us, the tougher the economy gets, the more generous the community tends to be. They've stepped up to the plate."
The website gives people a variety of ways to donate. Grafton Food Pantry, which receives no federal monies, accepts monthly donations as well as tribute gifts, where the pantry will send a special greeting to the person donors honor, according to the website.
A monthly donation helps the pantry during the down months of January, February and March, Rossi said. A recurring donation helps people feel more vested in helping the pantry.
For every dollar, the food pantry can purchase roughly $4 through the Northern Illinois Food Bank in St. Charles, Rossi said.
"A one or two dollar donation every month would definitely be a help," he said, adding walk in donations are appreciated too.
Hoover said the site is a work in progress. She plans to keep the site updated and wants to add more information.
Hoover would like to give visitors an opportunity to subscribe and get news and alerts for items the food pantry may need, she said.
Rossi said he'd also like to provide an online registration for volunteers to use.
Hoover was so impressed by the staff and volunteers she met at the food pantry that she became a volunteer herself.
"I don't think people realize how much they are really trying to help people," she said. "They have a real passion for the people. I think it's a cause really near and dear for all the people involved in it."
"We were really happy to partner with her," Rossi said. "We just didn't have the expertise in that area to do it ourselves and being a nonprofit, it was important to have the service donated."