Saturday, February 6, 2016

Volunteer Don Cheesman of Elkhart helps out at the Church Community Services food pantry on July 6, 2011. The Elkhart pantry received 1,501 pounds of chicken from Tyson Foods on Thursday, Dec. 26. (Truth Photo By Elizabeth Frantz, File)
Church Community Services food pantry extends hours, needs volunteers
Posted on Jan. 8, 2014 at 12:00 a.m. | Updated on Jan. 8, 2014 at 2:45 p.m.

ELKHART – In light of the weekend's blizzard conditions, Church Community Service's food pantry has decided to extend its hours on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday to accommodate people in need.

This week, the food pantry will be open 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. Wednesday, 8 a.m. - 7 p.m. Thursday and 8 a.m. - 3 p.m. Friday. The nonprofit, which feeds and provides services to about 2,400 low-income families per month, expects to see a large uptick in the number of people it sees in the next few days.

"That was a scary storm – probably a twice in a lifetime storm," Director of Food Services Mary Kneller said. "So, there were a lot of people who are out of food. We wanted to extend the hours so that we can get stocked up and ready to serve."

On top of the natural influx of people expected after a storm like this, the food pantry has also learned other agencies closed due to the weather are sending people in need their way.

"We've been very busy today," Kneller said.

Kneller said the food pantry needs staple items like hearty soups, peanut butter, cereal, baby food and diapers donated. The pantry received large bread and meat donations recently, so donating other types of items would be preferable.

Church Community Services has also asked groups interested in volunteering in the next few days to contact volunteer coordinator Gwen Hershberger at 574-295-3673 or The food pantry has a lot of food coming in, and there's a lot of extra sorting to do.

Despite hardships brought on by the storm, Kneller said she's been surprised at the positive attitudes the families coming in exude.

"I think the spirit of the people is really amazing," Kneller said. "Even though they've been through so much and are without food, everyone's spirits are high, and they're friendly and happy and just trying to get through this storm."