KEARNEY — To help fund the purchase of a location to accommodate a growing need, the Kearney Food Pantry seeks monetary donations.
“We will also use the money to fund our forever home. The pantry has moved at least three times in the last seven years and we need a home that we can grow in,” said Suzanne Witthar, food pantry coordinator. “The space we have now is about 1,200 square feet and we are using every inch of it. We are looking for a home about 2,700 square feet.”
Those served by the food pantry include children, senior citizens and families. In addition to the pantry location off Washington Street, the Kearney Food Pantry helps supply a pantry for secondary school students on school grounds, provides summer food bags to children during summer months when school meal options are not available and helps supply Blizzard Bags, cold-weather bags, to Meals on Wheels for deliveries to homebound residents.
“We have kids in Kearney that don’t have enough to eat. We don’t realize it, we don’t want to believe it, but it is true. We have seniors who have medicine they need, expensive medicine, and they need help with food so they can have that medicine. We have single-parent families where the parent is working two jobs to make ends meet and they need help with food. Sometimes they only come for a short time while they try to get their head above water, but they need our help,” the pantry coordinator said.
Witthar said the pantry has relied on generous donations of items from the community before, but to her knowledge, has never sought monetary contributions.
“It’s such a personal thing to ask for and we know that and we want to make sure that now that we are asking for donations that we are good stewards of what the community is giving to us,” she said. “We plan on using the donations to put food on our neighbors tables. These are people right here in Kearney. They are people you go to church with, your kids are going to school with, the same ones that you see and talk to at the grocery store. They have fallen on tough times and need help.”
One anonymous couple is doing their part and hoping to provide inspiration for others to get into the giving spirit by offering up to $25,000 in matching funds to funds raised by Dec. 15.
“We are so excited about this,” Witthar said.