Helen White is not sure how Sun City Neighborhood 28 Food Drive started seven years ago. What she is sure about is the biannual food drive has become a tradition in the neighborhood, generating tons of donations for the Grafton Food Pantry.
“The ones that give are very, very generous,” said White, who estimates the neighborhood has raised about $8,000 in cash donations since the food drive started.
“I got a check in the mail three days ago from a woman who was going on vacation and would miss it (the food drive),” White said. “She wanted to make sure we got our check. That is just how the people are,” she said.
White is gearing up for the fall food drive on Saturday.
Grafton Food Pantry, located at 12191-B Smith Drive, is heading into its busy season. It has steadily seen large numbers of families needing food. In September, it served 597 people. Over the summer, it hit a peak of 788 people one month. One day last week, more than 200 people came in for help, staff said.
Hunger is a reality for 1 in 6 Americans, according to the food pantry’s site. “Many people believe that the problems associated with hunger are confined to small pockets of society, certain areas of the country or certain neighborhoods, but the reality is much different,” the site states. “Right now, millions of Americans are struggling with hunger.”
Neighborhood 28, which is comprised of 250 to 270 homes, raises between $1,200 and $1,800 in cash donations at each food drive. Other Sun City neighborhoods have drives as well, White said.
White encourages people to make monetary donations because Grafton Food Pantry can get more for the dollar to purchase food or use the money for other things it needs. She estimates 85 percent of people donating give money.
“People are really very generous and do support the Grafton Food Pantry,” White said. “The people who come thank us for having this. It’s surprising. We thank them, naturally, for taking part of it and they say ‘oh, no, thank you.’”