Gordon Bolin often attends the Wednesday lunches at the center, as he enjoys the meal and the chance to visit with neighbors.
His wife works and he receives Social Security, and they are able pay their bills each month. Money is tight, though, as their income is not great and they also help to support family members living overseas. Bolin grows food for his family in his garden every year, and he also shares much of his produce with others at the weekly meals in Lottridge.
Linda Congrove and her husband live in Trimble, but drive over to Lottridge each week to volunteer. She helps prepare and serve the free lunch, while he helps out at the food pantry.
“Some of the people here, it might be the only meal they get all week, other than opening a can of beans,” Congrove said. Some people at the meals are just lonely and need someone to talk to, she added. Congrove likes to volunteer at the center because everyone is always friendly, and she knows that a lot of people are facing hard times and need a little help.
Lisa Roberts, director of the Friends and Neighbors Community Choice Food Center, said that the food pantry sees more and more people who need help every week. She also runs food pantries in Torch and Racine, and said those sites are also seeing an increase in numbers.
At Racine, for example, the average number of people served over the last few months has climbed to about 100 families each week. The holidays and the cold weather will cause that number to continue to increase, Roberts said. The week before Thanksgiving, for example, the Racine center served 165 families.
In order to keep up with the increase in demand, the Friends and Neighbors Community Choice Food Center is looking for donations to help these families in need. The center is also looking for donations of Christmas presents that will be handed out to low-income families to give to their children this year.
For more information on the Friends and Neighbors Community Choice Food Center or to donate gifts to the center, call 740-667-0684.