Lavern Hoglund says nearly 40 new people walk through the doors of the Quad City Food Shelf in Gilbert each and every month looking for a little help.
And she doesn’t expect that to change anytime soon, especially with the holiday season upon us.
“We’ve seen more and more (middle age individuals) and young families. A lot of them are looking for work and can’t find it. We even get some homeless people,” Hoglund said. “It’s mostly families but we get a lot of young men, too.”
It’s a busy time of year at the Food Shelf, she added, as the volunteers there have been handing out Thanksgiving type dinners – complete with turkey – to needy families in the area since the beginning of November.
But, Hoglund said, it’s not any more busy than at any other time of the year.
The October numbers tell the story: 34 volunteers put in 625 hours to serve 25,925 pounds of food to 284 individuals between the ages of 0 and 17; 576 individuals between the ages of 18 and 64; and 30 individuals 65 or older.
“We get a lot of new people and we get a lot of donations in November because we’re doing Thanksgiving. A lot of churches, individuals and organizations donate in November,” she said. “We get a lot of support from the community and people are sending checks in. It does help a lot.”
Hoglund said she would like to see more senior citizens take advantage of the services at Quad City Food Shelf, as they are often the most in need.
“The senior citizens often have the lowest income but I don’t know why (some don’t come in). I think it’s because they are from that generation that did everything for themselves,” she said.
To qualify for services at Quad City all people have to do is go there and show an ID. If they are getting any sort of assistance – food stamps or medical or otherwise – they are automatically eligible to receive food.
If not, all they need to do is tell volunteers there what there income is. They don’t need to provide proof, Hoglund said.
Users can visit the Quad City Food Shelf once every 30 days.
For more information contact Hoglund at 218-741-1371. The Quad City Food Shelf is open from 10 a.m. To 4 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays.
For Sharon Farrell, coordinator at the Aurora Food Shelf, November and December are very busy months.
“We usually serve between 105 and 110 people but so far this month we’ve already served 105,” she said on Nov. 16. “So this is a busy month. November and December get quite a bit busier.”
This year, Farrell said, the Aurora Food Shelf got a sizable donation from an anonymous party out of Biwabik that pretty much paid for the Turkeys the organization gave out through Thanksgiving and will continue to distribute until the end of the month.
“It was really, really nice. People in this area are really generous and they get out and help us, especially the churches,” Farrell said, adding that heading into December she will be looking for cash donations to help feed people.
“If people could give a few dollars that’s easier for us because we can buy so much more through our food bank then they can get for the price at the store,” she said. “We can make a dollar stretch pretty far and just a few dollars (from each person) really adds up.”
The Aurora Food Shelf is open from 10 a.m. To 1 p.m. Wednesdays. Farrell can be reached at 218-229-3585.
In the Babbitt and Embarrass areas, Pastor Ben Buchanan said area churches take part in a voucher program through Arrowhead Economic Opportunity Agency in Virginia.
Financial donations are put into accounts that those in need can use to purchase food items at Zups in Ely.
Buchanan, who serves at both Evangelical Lutheran in Babbitt and Hope Lutheran in Embarrass, said there’s been a growing need for the voucher program as of late and that there should be a bit of a bump during the holiday season as well.
Traditionally, he said, some local churches in the area have held either special services or dedicated offerings in November to raise more money for the program.
“The community gives substantial donations,” he said. “If anyone is in need they need to know that help is out there and that they can contact any local clergy and we will be happy to direct them to the service they need.”
Those looking to donate can do the same, Buchanan said.
The number is 218-827-2659.
No one was available for comment at the Ely Area Food Shelf at deadline, but the hours at the facility are noon to 6 p.m. every third Tuesday. The address is 102 East Sheridan St. and the phone number 218-235-8527.