Dublin Villager

Support association food donations growing

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JENNIFER NOBLIT/THISWEEKNEWS
The Dublin Support Association collected more than 3,700 food items for the Dublin Food Pantry with the help of Dublin elementary school students. Deer Run Elementary School students (first row, from left) Alexa Cook, Ellie Bender, Samantha Stutz, Sophia Slater; (second row) Maddy Virant and Lexi Rapp were treated to a tour of the pantry with DSA President Howard French and Deer Run Principal Susann Wittig by pantry Executive Director Nancy Johnson (back right).
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Families will have food on their tables thanks to the Dublin Support Association.

The DSA conducted its annual food collection for the Dublin Food Pantry at Dublin elementary schools the week before Thanksgiving and it yielded more than 3,700 food items.

The third year of the collection snagged more than previous years; last year's collection brought 2,500 items to food pantry shelves.

"Students brought in food and toys," said DSA President Howard French. "After the food was dropped off bus drivers picked it up each day and delivered it to our warehouse."

Once the collection was completed, everything was taken to the Dublin Food Pantry Nov. 26.

"It's just something we do to give back to the community," French said.

The DSA gives 100 new books to the three elementary schools that collect the most food.

Deer Run, Wright and Indian Run elementary schools will get some new books in their libraries soon, courtesy of the DSA.

"Deer Run Elementary was the top school so we asked them if they wanted to have a tour," French said.

Last week the five Deer Run students who collected the most food and Principal Susann Wittig toured the food pantry and Director Nancy Johnson told them about the people that shop there.

While most may think people who use the food pantry don't have a job, many do, Johnson said.

"There are low paying jobs out there, but people can't make it on minimum wage," Johnson said.

Many who use the Dublin Food Pantry thought they were set for retirement or got laid off from professional jobs during the Great Recession.

"The stereotypes don't apply, at least to us," Johnson said. "Not to this pantry."

Even though the economy appears to be improving, Johnson said need has increased in Dublin.

Federal cuts in the food stamps program occurred in November and the number of people served by the Dublin Food Pantry has increased from 233 per month to about 275 per month.

"That definitely impacts us," Johnson said, adding more food stamp cuts could come.

But collections such as those done by the DSA help keep pantry shelves and refrigerators full.

Collections by Dublin Boy Scout troop 185, Bailey Elementary School Troop 116, Primrose Learning Center and Sells and Davis Middle schools have also helped out, Johnson said.

"A majority of what we got this season has been through schools, scouts and children," she said.

Johnson said the Dublin Food Pantry will also focus on monetary donations more than ever before.

"We're going to be working on collecting money from people who don't like to bring stuff in,' she said.

"Twenty-five dollars a day can feed a family of four," she said. "We're going to start encouraging that more."

For more information about the Dublin Food Pantry, look online at dublinfoodpantry.org.

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