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Food bank seeks help

Donations needed as high demands empties Loomis food pantry
By: Martha Garcia, Loomis News Editor
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Those who can afford to shop at a grocery store find shelf after shelf of good things to buy and eat. But those who rely on the Loomis Basin Food Pantry to help feed their families aren’t always as fortunate, especially now when the pantry is very short of some items. “We need donations to help fill the pantry,” said Betty Doupnik, who is co-director of the Food Pantry with Roy Draper. “The shelves in some places are really full, but in others they are pretty light. In the last two days, I spent about $230,” Draper said. There is an unprecedented number of seniors and families looking for help, Draper said. “We’ve been getting hit really hard here,” he said. “I don’t know how many bags I’ve set up since fall.” Families and individuals from Loomis, Penryn, Newcastle and Rocklin are referred to the Food Pantry daily by county agencies. Others can call the First United Methodist Church of Loomis at 652-0469 to make arrangements to pick up the bags of food. The non-perishable groceries are meant to tide people over as they struggle to make ends meet until they can find permanent solutions or social service help begins. Individuals and families each receive four bags full of food staples, said Draper, who has been working with the Food Pantry for over 11 years. The appeal for donations is coming at a good time, as the Curves women’s gym in Loomis is holding its annual drive to collect non-perishable food and cash donations. All donations delivered to Curves, located at 355 Taylor Road, will go to the Loomis Basin Food Pantry. Curves will accept donations from the public, as well as its members. The main items the Food Pantry is requesting at this time, said Draper, are peanut butter and jelly, 2-pound bags of flour (5 pounds is too hard to handle, he said), 1- or 2-pound bags of granulated sugar, rice, dry milk (enough to make 1 gallon), Jello and pudding mixes, stuffing mix, cooking oil (24 to 32 ounce sizes), and canned tomato sauce and spaghetti sauce. Also needed are morning drinks such as orange, plum, and cranberry juices (46 to 64 ounce size); pancake mix and flour; syrup; jam; chocolate drink mix; jams; any kind of dinner mixes such as macaroni and cheese, tuna mix, Hamburger Helper, Pasta-roni and Rice-a-roni; packages of ramen noodles; and all varieties of canned meats, such as tuna, Spam and ham. The Food Pantry can’t accept fresh produce, meats, or milk because there is no refrigeration and no space to store the food. They can’t take donations of bulk-sized foods, such as 25 pounds of rice, either. “There’s nothing we can do with it,” Draper said. Donations of cash, or grocery store gift cards, are especially appreciated, because they enable Draper to shop for foods the Food Pantry might be short of at any time. Checks or gift card donations can be mailed throughout the year to the Loomis Basin Food Pantry, P.O. Box 542, Loomis, CA 95650.