Eyota Food Pantry takes on demand during holidays and inflation

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(ABC 6 News) – According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, more than 34 million people in the United States are experiencing food insecurity. For food pantries, between that, inflation, and a higher need around the holidays, it can be hard to keep up.

The Eyota Food Pantry opened during the pandemic. With pandemic-related government programs winding down, Beth Krolak, the food pantry manager said new customers are coming in and no one is turned away. When stock gets concerningly low, the community always pulls through.

“The school right now is holding three different food drives and funds for us,” said Krolak.

“Even though a shelf might be empty, we know that there are people working out there behind the scenes, that we don’t even know about. Bringing things to us and helping us keep this going.”

The pantry is located at Front and Center, Inc., a place for people to go, connect, and get support. But there’s another way that community members can get involved in giving back and that’s through the thrift shop –Thrift on Front.

Those who run the store say “if you wear it, we want it.” It gives people the opportunity to get essentials for a reasonable price. For those who use the food pantry, if someone wants to give back but can’t financially, there still is a way to do so.

“When people need something. they’ve had a fire or whatever, we just give them what we need because it’s not like we paid a lot of money or whatever,” said Laurie Boche, the president of the board of directors at Front and Center, Inc.

“Then every single penny that we earn from the thrift store then goes to keep the food pantry going. So it’s really become a fun community place.”

There is also a free space for people to use. Boche said a lot of people use it to come together for craft classes. Her goal for the new year is to make Front and Center a place people know of, and a place they come to for all sorts of reasons.

In November, the pantry gave out more than 9,000 pounds of food. Each month there are about 200 to 300 household visits.

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