BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – More than a dozen volunteers at the Fort Madison Food Pantry spent their day on Monday putting away tons of food donated by the National Letter Carriers’ Saturday food drive.
Area residents put out food for the carriers with the U.S. Postal service to pick up and bring back to the post office. Volunteers worked Saturday to sort and organize the food donations and then on Monday loaded them up for the trek over to the Fort Madison Food Pantry, where cars lined up as the food was carried in both the front and back doors.
Lin Cramer, the pantry’s board president, said she was amazed at the kindness of the community in helping the pantry stock for the area’s neediest families.
“It chokes me up how kind everyone has been to do all of this,” she said. “You think about all the houses and the families that have contributed…whatever they could. It’s amazing to see this level of kindness,” Cramer said.
Former board president George Gaudette said this year’s donation of food was similar to the past year and should help stock the shelves for two to three months.
Cramer said it will take a room full of volunteers most of the day to sort, organize, and shelve donations that were mostly canned and dry foods including peanut butter, cereal, pickles, soups, crackers, and other non-perishable items.
More than 10 letter cages were used to store the food over the weekend. The racks were then rolled onto the docks where volunteers worked for over an hour to load baskets and boxes into vehicles.
“We’re working, hopefully we’ll get most of it done today, but we have volunteers coming tomorrow to finish it up.”
In February, the pantry put out a call for help as supplies and funds became dangerously low. Cramer said the outlook is a bit brighter now thanks to the outpouring of support from the community and businesses.
“It’s going better – much much better,” Cramer said.
“We made some changes in what we order and we’ve had a lot of donations. Memorials are coming in, and Mike Wellman, who would have been here helping us, passed away. He’s probably still with us, but his memorial has brought in some and that’s fairly substantial. Lee County Bank also gave us an early $2,500 donation. So things are looking better.”
Anyone wishing to make donations can send them to PO Box 273, Fort Madison, IA 52627 or donations may be dropped off at the Pantry located at 3421 Avenue L, Fort Madison, IA.
For more information you can visit https://www.facebook.com/Fort-Madison-Food-Pantry-1554159578212844/.