Every Friday from 3-4 p.m., Donna Lutze can be found at the Methodist food pantry doing her part to keep people fed. — The Holyoke Enterprise | Johnson Publications
While nation’s food pantries struggle, Holyoke steps up
With the U.S. unemployment rate at an estimated 20% and millions of people suddenly out of work because of the coronavirus pandemic, food pantries across the country are finding it difficult to keep up with the need.
At one Holyoke food pantry, though, a different phenomenon is unfolding. The Methodist food pantry hasn’t seen much of an uptick in traffic, Donna Lutze said, but there has been a surge in donations.
The church’s food pantry has been in existence for a “long, long time,” and Lutze has been involved for eight or nine years.
For the past five years or so, she has struggled to keep the food pantry open. All of a sudden, though, community members stepped up. During an especially challenging time, people have made sizable donations to help keep others fed.
Nearing the end of the month, Lutze suspects some households may start feeling the crunch as a result of reduced hours, furloughs, layoffs or sick days. She wouldn’t be surprised if food pantry traffic increased, and she emphasized that folks shouldn’t be ashamed to make use of the resource if they need it.
“I hope we can be of some help to them,” Lutze said.
The Methodist food pantry is open every Friday from 3-4 p.m. Use the north entrance of First United Methodist Church, 230 E. Furry St., and take the stairs up to the food pantry. Anyone is welcome to use the resource; Lutze just asks those who do to provide their names and addresses to help keep a record of how many people it serves. Such data can come in handy if she decides to apply for grant money.
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