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Caring Ministries Food Pantry serves 64 families in 2013

By LeAnn R. Ralph

COLFAX — The Caring Ministries Food Pantry served 64 families in 2013 for a total of 127 visits throughout the year.

The pantry, said Deb Toycen, coordinator of Caring Ministries, is coordinated and supported entirely by volunteers.

 In 2012, the Caring Ministries Food Pantry served 65 families with 135 individual appointments.

In 2011, Caring Ministries served 50 families with 100 individual appointments.

“By generous donations from local churches, businesses, and individuals within our community, we have been able to use 100 percent of the funds raised to go directly to families in need,” Toycen said.

The main reasons people seek help from Caring Ministries are budget reductions resulting in fewer food stamp dollars, unemployment, and medical issues and expenses, Toycen said.

The Caring Ministries Food Pantry is available for Colfax residents to use for supplemental needs during the month when they are in a bind financially, she said.

“Some families find they only need to use the pantry once, and others require multiple visits until they are on their feet again,” Toycen said.

Caring Ministries discourages dependency on the food pantry because it is an emergency food source, and volunteers spend time with families providing resources and referrals as needed, she said.

This year, a group of volunteers trade off on packing 34 food bags weekly for the Support for Sunday program, Toycen said.

Last year at this time, the Support For Sunday program provided 47 food bags every week to children through grade four at Colfax Elementary.

Volunteers pack the bags, and high school students deliver the bags to the classrooms where the teachers put the food bags in the children’s backpacks during recess.

“We have determined that this supplemental food offering has allowed some families to make ends meet on a weekly basis without having to use the food pantry,” Toycen said.

Families are allowed to sign up or withdraw from the program any time their financial need changes, she noted.

Financial donations to Caring Ministries of any amount are welcome.

If you wish to donate, checks may be sent to Caring Ministries at P.O. Box 216, Colfax WI 54730.

If you would like information on how to volunteer to help Caring Ministries — or if you find yourself in need of assistance — call the food pantry at (715) 704-6400.