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Food pantry seeks donations to fight hunger

Food pantry
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Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service is currently seeking food donations to see the organization through the holidays and into the new year.

“Hunger is an issue facing many families in the tri-county area,” said Pam Struckhoff, executive director at Sts. Joachim & Ann Care Service. “Our food pantry alone serves more than 150 families each week. Often the families we assist have to choose between purchasing food for their family or paying rent to keep a roof over their heads. Many of these families are working, but are still struggling to provide the most basic of needs like food and shelter.”

Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, over 41,000 people (including 10,890 children) in the tri-county area were food-insecure. That number has risen an average of 60% across the country as a result of the pandemic, according to nonprofit organization Feeding America. The pandemic has also caused the cancellation of many food drives that provide significant donations to food pantries like the Care Service.

“The Care Service relies on food collections, like Scouting for Food and USPS Stamp Out Hunger, to keep our pantry shelves fully stocked. All of the major food collections this year have been cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic,” Struckhoff said. “These annual food collections account for about 60% of the non-perishable food distributed through our weekly food pantry.”

Driven by its mission “to serve those in crisis and to prevent homelessness and hunger,” Sts. Joachim and Ann Care Service works with vulnerable families and individuals in St. Charles, Lincoln and Warren counties to address the individual needs of each family in crisis through its integrated programs and services.

The Care Service can provide financial housing and utility assistance through its Housing Assistance Program to help families avoid an eviction, prevent a utility disconnect, or pay for a deposit on a new place.

Its Children and Family Development Program provides families with children who are homeless or are at-risk of becoming homeless with comprehen- sive case management.

Its Client Choice Food Pantry is open three days a week to provide clients with supplemental food and basic hygiene items that can’t be purchased with food stamps.

Its annual Adopt-A-Family program provides holiday gifts and meals for needy families and takes place this year on Dec. 12 and 13. As part of the program, individuals can adopt a family, make a financial contribution, or donate items like gift cards, toiletries and laundry supplies.

Visit jacares.org to learn more.

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