Residents line up for food pantry holiday giveaway

Area residents in need of food for the holiday season will be getting holiday food bags with their regular shopping at the Food Pantry instead of the one-day holiday food basket event previously held at the Riverview Park Pavilion. PCC File photo






FORT MADISON – Well, ‘Ole Man Winter’ may have thrown a curve ball at the Fort Madison Food Pantry’s Holiday food handout last week, but volunteers at the rescheduled event today hit a home run with families looking to supplement meals over the holidays.

George Gaudette, president of the board of the Community Services Inc., Fort Madison Food Pantry and his wife, Mary Ann Gaudette, another board member, along with about 30 volunteers worked for two hours on Tuesday from 1 to 3 p.m. handing out food to residents.

Lines of more than 50 people streamed to the north side of the parking lot at the Riverview Park Pavilion, while inside more than 30 people were rotating through tables loaded with eggs, bread, cereal, cake mixes and peanut butter, canned goods and other food staples.

The peanut butter became a story in itself.

The Gaudettes said they were thankful for all the donations and community support, as well as Holy Trinity Catholic High School and Fort Madison High School who came to the rescue with 770 jars of peanut butter. Each person in line got to pick two jars of their favorite… creamy or chunky.

“We got 385 jars of peanut butter from each school,” said George.

“Our budget was maxed out,” said Mary Ann. “The schools came up with a fundraiser and did a peanut butter drive.”

The weather made holding the event last week treacherous so the giveaway was rescheduled for Tuesday, but it took some work to move it to Riverview Park.

“We ended up having to call people,” Mary Ann said. “We called everyone who had working phone numbers. We couldn’t reach everyone, but the word got out.”

“We’ve got Holy Trinity kids here helping people carry boxes. We had some churches donate the cake mixes. This is a real community effort,” she said.

The line at the Riverview Park Pavilion stayed this long for the first hour of the Fort Madison Food Pantry’s holiday giveaway Tuesday. Food pantry volunteers said more than 350 signed up to come to the event.


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