Gayle Serginia was thinking of a way to help the community where she works.
The assistant manager of Huntley’s store was drawn to the Grafton Food Pantry.
“I am an advocate of food pantries because of these economic times,” she said. “I had to use (a food pantry) once at one point in my life. I had lost my job and I know what it means for the community.”
So Serginia organized a food drive.
Serginia asked local businesses to donate prizes for a raffle. Participating businesses are: , High Ground, UPS, and , she said. The prizes include gift certificates for free services.
Anyone who brings in five items or more to donate to Grafton Food Pantry, at 12191-B Smith Drive, gets a chance to enter the raffle and win a prize, she said. Items will be collected at the store, 11900 Kreutzer Road, Huntley.
The food drive continues through the end of March.
Serginia visited the food pantry a few weeks ago and found it is in desperate need of many things, particularly personal hygiene items like toothpaste, she said. “They are doing the best they can with what they have. There are so many people right now who need it so badly.”
Community efforts to help
“There are all kinds of wonderful things going on,” Grafton Food Pantry Director Harriet Ford said. “We are very excited to have some new partners to combat hunger.”
is one of three food drives for going on this month.
freshman Ryan Czarnecki organized a drive at the high school. The freshman class that raises the most donations gets a pizza party from Taylor Street Pizza. Donations are being accepted until March 7.
“I was so impressed with this young man,” Ford said. “This is totally his effort. He said he realized from among his friends and neighbors that used to be doing fine may not be doing well right now. He wanted to make a difference and do something about it.”
“It’s pretty exciting when a young person realizes there is a bigger picture and makes an effort like this,” she said. “We hope it helps build awareness with young people.”
Boy Scouts gather donations
A third effort is going on Saturday. Huntley Cub Scout Pack 267 is one of a dozen packs participating in “Scouting for Food” program, helping the Grafton Food Pantry.
Cub Scouts passed out empty grocery bags at Sun City last week with a list of items the food pantry needs. Saturday, the pack will collect the bags and help sort donated items at the pantry, said Brad Wackerlin, Pack 267’s public relations chairman.
Scouting for Food is a national program in which Pack 267 participated last year. The troop gathered more than 2,000 items for the pantry, he said. Sun City residents have been generous, he said.
Those donations helped the pack “completely stock the food pantry,” he said. “But all that was gone within a week. It’s a high turnover. There is definitely a need. It helps families in our community.”
The Scouting effort “is just a wonderful, wonderful opportunity to start to fill our shelves up again,” Ford said. “One of the best things is it is multigenerational. There are Scouts involved, parents, and grandparents. It’s really what we are about, neighbors helping neighbors. This is a really good example of the community reaching out and helping us.”