BARRINGTON – Happy turkey day! I’ve grown to learn, as most have, that Thanksgiving is about more than wishbones, football and pumpkin pie. It’s about cherishing a holiday with friends and family while recalling all that you are grateful for.
Although, speaking with the Cuba Township Food Pantry Liaison Kate Formichella last week, I realized that food is a very real problem for nearly 100 local families this season – families that don’t have the means to fuel up their car and drive to visit distant relatives or add some toasty marshmallows to their children’s sweet potato casserole.
In hard economic times, many families must choose to either pay the utility bill or set the Thanksgiving dinner table, while the costs of upcoming winter holidays linger too close for comfort.
Thankfully, this local food pantry and other crisis organizations provide assistance during these times – yet, when funding becomes low, assistance programs are cut.
With the help of Roslyn Road Elementary students, the Cuba Township Food Pantry has filled more than 80 Thanksgiving baskets with everything from turkey coupons to cranberries. I wish I could end the story there, but they still need the community’s help through the holidays and beyond.
Having worked with this food pantry for more than 10 years, Formichella said that donations have been at a low this year.
Despite the holiday season being the food pantry’s “busiest” donation season, Formichella said volunteers were not able to pack this year’s Thanksgiving baskets with grocery or gas certificates for traveling families as they have been able to previous years.
That being said, the pantry’s lowest donation season still continues to be between May and mid-October. Formichella said that anything helps yearround – paper products, canned goods, snacks, toiletries, cleaning supplies, donated monies, baking mix, or even a helping hand.
“We have an army of both male and female volunteers that have been with us for years,” Formichella said. “There’s no chance we could help the amount of families we do without our volunteers.”
So here’s my proposal – how about a holiday scavenger hunt or cabinet cleanout? Let’s give others the chance to forget about food and be grateful for the little things, the quality time. Better yet, let’s gift hope for the future – a warmer winter and a positive spirit.