The Grafton Township Food Pantry provides a helping hand to those in need.
The pantry served 149 families and 549 individuals so far this year.
John Rossi, president for the Grafton Township Food Pantry, said the pantry has been running since about 2006 and moved to the new facility at 12191-B Smith Drive in Huntley about a year ago.
Rossi said when the pantry started, they were serving about 40 people a month.
He said the pantry especially needs to stay open in the winter.
“More so the last couple days because of the cold that’s hit,” he said.
Rossi also said that when the party first started, there were only about 40 people coming in a month and there was 50 percent increase since they moved to their new location.
Mary Hardy, manager of the food pantry, said when the pantry runs out of food, they usually go to the Northern Illinois Food Bank with the minimum amount of money that has been donated by others.
“You can never predict (what will happen),” she said.
The pantry started when a township supervisor, Millie Ruth, started one in a closet and even though she has since passed away, the pantry grew over the years.
Hardy worked for the township when the pantry used to be in the township building under supervisor Rossi.
Paula Panek, volunteer from Lake in the Hills, said she gets a good feeling from helping others.
“We are there if they (the clients) want to talk,” she said. “It makes it easier. We call them by name and they smile.”
Panek started volunteering about 4 years ago.
Alice Hallett, a Del Webb resident, joined to give back.
She also has volunteered for about four years.
When clients sign in, volunteers are at each section of the pantry to help. Sections include dry food, soup meat and so on.
The volunteers ask the families or whoever comes in their preferences and the client gets the kind of soup they like, for example, if it is in stock and the necessary amount for how many people are present.
“This wouldn’t happen if it were not for other people’s generosity,” Hallett said.
The pantry is not government-funded and receives donations from homes, churches and other organizations.
They have a wish list which includes gift cards for gas and other stores, paper goods like toilet paper and paper towels, personal grooming items, household cleaning items, baby items such as diapers and baby wipes, condiments and non-perishable food items. They also ask for baby food.
Drop boxes for these items include the Harris Bank in Huntley, the Huntley Area Public Library, the Huntley Park District, the Village of Lakewood and Wisted’s Supermarket in Huntley.
The pantry has the buying power of $4 at the Northern Illinois Food Bank for every donated dollar.
The pantry is open from 1 to 4 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and can be contacted by calling (847) 495-0922 or sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.