Photo by Ryan Kelley/QNS
Local residents and members of the Glendale Kiwanis at the Sacred Heart food pantry. where they donated a new refrigerator and shelving units.

There will be plenty of room to store more food at a pantry in Glendale thanks to a generous donation from members of the local community.

The pantry inside the office of the Sacred Heart parish ministries on 84th Street recently received a brand-new refrigerator courtesy of the Kiwanis Club of Glendale, as well as several steel shelves from tool supplier Grainger Inc. Coupled with Kiwanis president Kerrie Hansen’s focus on food pantries during her term, there should be no shortage of food in 2018 for families in need.

“This is the first year that in mid-January I’m not concerned,” said Nancy Baer, a pastoral associate for the parish who runs the pantry. “There’s a lot of community support, and the church is really helping, so we’re in very good shape.”

Every year, the Glendale Kiwanis elects a new president who is tasked with choosing a specific emphasis for the club’s charitable work. Hansen said that she had already been donating to food pantries in the area and it felt right to have the club do even more for them. Since Hansen took office in October 2017, the Kiwanians have held a food drive at the Stop N Shop on Myrtle Avenue on the first Saturday of every month and donated the collection to a variety of local pantries and organizations.

When the Glendale Kiwanis gave a donation of turkeys to the pantry at Sacred Heart before Thanksgiving last year, that’s when Hansen realized the club could do something extra for the parish, she said. Hansen remembers trying to stuff all the turkeys into the pantry’s only freezer and not having enough shelving space for the excess of donations that come during the holidays. They provided Thanksgiving meals to 120 families, Hansen said.

The Kiwanians were able to raise enough money to buy the parish an new refrigerator/freezer, and Hansen reached out to her friend Mike Williamson for advice on what shelving units to order. Williamson, a branch network manager for Grainger, took it a step further.

“I didn’t realize that he was willing to reach out to his company and ask if they would donate,” Hansen said. “That was just a bonus. That was significant funding.”

Complete with big red bows that Hansen made herself, the Glendale Kiwanis gifted the shelves and refrigerator to Baer along with the collection from their January food drive. Baer said that the Kiwanis “have really made this their project,” but also acknowledged the importance of donations from the church, the Knights of Columbus, UNICO, the Boy Scouts and Girl Scouts, Senator Joe Addabbo and Assemblyman Mike Miller.

“I’ve had other jobs where you don’t always see a result right away, and that’s not this,” Baer said. “I can see it right away that we’ve made a difference and it’s needed, so it’s good that we have the support.”

When asked about what is most rewarding about giving to families in need, Hansen brought back fond memories from the holiday season.

“Handing those turkeys out and everybody being so full of smiles, that’s what makes it worthwhile,” Hansen said. “They don’t feel that we’re thinking anything less of them, they’re just thinking we’re helping them, and that’s what you want. You want them to be feeling like there are people that have their back.”

The food pantry at the Sacred Heart office of parish ministries is open Monday to Thursday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and serves anyone who lives in Glendale and has food stamps or can prove they have applied for food stamps.



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