Friday was Appreciation Day for volunteers at the Perry Food Pantry, with many of the nearly 50 helpers gathering at the Perry Perk coffeehouse for coffee, cookies and a well-deserved pat on the back from Perry Food Pantry Site Manager Lou Hoger and Volunteer Coordinator Lois Hoger.
Last year’s Appreciation Day was postponed by the pandemic, so two years’ worth of thanks were showered on the volunteers, who also modeled their new Perry Food Pantry turquoise t-shirts, paid for with a grant from Thrivent Financial. The shirts read, “Caring and Sharing – Cuidar y Compartir.”
Pantry volunteers perform a myriad of behind-the-scenes duties that keep the operation running smoothly, from picking up stock at the Food Bank of Iowa to loading and unloading the commodities, stocking the shelves, keeping records on computer, clerking, coordinating customers, working with clients in the store, general cleanup and maintenance — and sitting on the board of directors, which is also composed of volunteers.
The pantry current has some 47 volunteers, about half of whom enjoyed Friday’s cookies, but more help is always needed, according to Volunteer Coordinator Lois Hoger.
“We lose people from time to time,” Hoger said, “as some move away or take a new job or need to quarantine for COVID-19 or other health reasons. Volunteers usually work about every three weeks. We’re very flexible in adjusting schedule around vacations, family leaves, illnesses and the like. So give us a call if you want to enjoy the satisfaction of helping people along their journey during times of uncertainty.”
The mission of the Perry Food Pantry, also known as Perry Emergency Food Council, “is to provide food assistance for persons in immediate need in and around the community of Perry,” according to the pantry’s Facebook page.
The current board of directors includes President Tim Farmer, Treasurer Carol Johnson, Secretary Sarah Cerwinske and directors Norm Adamson, Jeffrey Fuentes, Brenda Golay, Steve Golay, Rosa Gonzalez, Margaret Harden, Gus Henrici and Myrna Smith.
Volunteers might be the heart of the pantry, but donations are the lifeblood. Supporters may donate online or send checks to the Perry Food Pantry, P.O. Box 156, Perry, IA 50220. For more information or to volunteer, call 515-570-2975 or write firstname.lastname@example.org.