After years of combining forces to have both the local food pantry and New Opportunities in the same building, the duo will part ways come late December. New Opportunities will relocate to a smaller facility and the Food Pantry is seeking a new home in the area.
According to a press release from Lou Hoger, Coordinator of Commodities and Volunteers at the Perry Area Food Pantry, the organization received news from the New Opportunities CEO that the lease will be finished on Dec. 31.
“I don’t know that we were too surprised,” said Lou Hoger, Coordinator of Commodities and Volunteers at the Perry Food Pantry.
Although both organizations will no longer reside in the same building, the two will work together by a voucher-system: New Opportunities will approve clients for access to the Food Pantry as well as give clients a voucher to use for Food Pantry access at the new location.
A few issues have arose from the separation, however.
“Our immediate concern is where are we going to go and where are we going to get the funds to sustain that,” Hoger said.
In the past, the Food Pantry would give New Opportunities $1,000 dollars each year to cover the staff involvement and overall assistance.
“We never even had to consider rent; rent was never an issue,” Hoger said.
Funds are scarce after a change in how the Food Pantry operated, Hoger explains.
“In the past, if I go back even ten years, we had a lot of money in the bank,” Hoger said. “Over the past several years, we’ve spent that down because we have been more generous with the food pantry, allowing people to come every month [instead of every three months].”
“We’ve also purchase commodities from the Food Bank of Iowa and our local stores as well.”
The Food Pantry is currently seeking a space with approximately 600 to 800 square feet and is easily accessible. The need for Food Pantry volunteers to assist clients in selecting food items since the organization will no longer work day-to-day with New Opportunities.
“The Perry Ministerial called a special meeting because most of the volunteers are going to be coming from our churches,” Hoger explained.
As far as changes go, the Food Pantry anticipates a shift in schedule to now assist only two half-days per week.
The Perry Area Food Pantry is currently looking for housing options for the organization. The Food Pantry is asking anyone who might have a space to donate or rent at a reasonable rate to contact Lou Hoger at 515-570-2975 by phone or text, or email at email@example.com.
Financial donations can be sent to Pastor Paul Burrow, Treasurer, at the First United Methodist Church, P.O. Box 237 in Perry.
“They strongly request your help in this time of crisis,” the press release reads.