By Anne Eickstadt

ANNE EICKSTADT PHOTO Belvidere Daily Republican
Brenda Valadez and Danice Loveridge of the Boone County Food Pantry raise money at Dodge Lanes.


“The Boone County Food Pantry has been around since 2004 in Capron,” said Executive Director Danice Loveridge at the food pantry fundraiser in the Dodge Lanes Bowling Alley. “We serve from 1700 to 2200 people per month.

“We have different programs to help people. Our Direct program is where people can come to us directly for food, clothing, and household items. We have a Snack program where we provide nutritious snacks for schools. We have a Community Meals program with which we provide food to local churches to serve community meals. We also have a Bags of Hope program. We provide non-perishable, ready-to-eat food for homeless persons who stay in a local hotel.

“Between all our programs we are touching the lives of about 2000 people a month. We know there is so much more we can be doing. In a year’s time, we serve about 5200 individuals.

“We know that there are about 14,000 people in Boone County. About 25 percent of them are struggling financially. There’s a lot of work to be done. We know that a majority of them are children under the age of 18. Our focus is to develop programs to reach the parents.

“When people come to our food pantry, they receive about $400 in food once a month. In addition, they receive personal care items such as soap, toothpaste, and mouthwash – things you cannot buy on food stamps. They can also get free clothing. There’s never a charge or fee for anything we do.

“Everything we raise is from our neighbors or the community and funding for food with purchase through contracts. We partner with the Northern Illinois Food Bank.

“Many people ask, ‘The holidays are over, do you still have a need?’

Hunger has no season. We are open every month. We distribute every Tuesday of every week. Until hunger is eradicated in Boone County, we will continue to do this.

“In order to help, what we need the most is the personal care items or cleaning items, things we can pass on to them so they can do the same things we do. We always need volunteers. This is a great way to do community service for classmates, Boy Scouts of America, senior programs, and neighbors.

“We accept monetary donations as well as items so we can do more. We do have to buy food and pay the staff. If you want to drop something off, please call in advance so we can be sure to have someone there to receive the items.

“We will be holding a fundraiser in March called ‘Empty Bowl.’ This will be at the North Boone Fire Station, 305 W. Grove St., Poplar Grove on March 10. You can purchase a beautiful handcrafted bowl for $20. We will fill it with unlimited soup and bread. You can take the bowl home. Every time you look at it, you will remember

For full aricle, pick up the March 7 Belvidere Daily Republican.