Community Taking Action to feed hungry neighbors

By Anna Carrera

Published 11/08 2013 05:18PM

Updated 11/12 2013 06:44PM

Update: 4:50 pm, 11/12/13, Tuesday
BEMENT -- A Piatt County community has donated hundreds of pounds of food for the hungry. People have been dropping off cans, fresh food and toiletries at Cim-Tek since last week.

Workers brought six cart-loads and a pallet full of stuff to the village's food pantry Tuesday. One of the organizers says the community truly answered the call for help.
It all started when pantry workers said they were running out of food.

It's not just people from Cim-Tek who have been pitching in. Other area businesses and churches have held drives of their own. Students from schools in the area collected hundreds more cans to add to the donation.
Original: 5:18 pm, 11/8/13, Friday
BEMENT -- The shelves of the village's food pantry were nearly empty until people from Piatt County came to the rescue. The pantry's organizer says they've seen a significant drop in donations over the last year. That's why they're so thankful the community is Taking Action.

The pantry has been open for about 11 years now. That time includes a lot of the fallout from the recession. So when organizers realized it had gotten this bad, they knew they couldn't fix it alone.

The pantry is where hungry people in Bement turn when they run out of options. At first, it was open every Tuesday.

"You stretch the money as tight as you can and as far as it'll go," said food pantry organizer Mary Manalisay, "but then there has to be decisions that are made."

They dropped to twice a month in September. And in the last few weeks, most of the shelves were bare. So pantry organizers put out a call for help.

Ruth Manint answered. Manint has a good job now, but she knows what it's like to be hungry.

"My husband was laid off from General Cable in Monticello," said Manint. "I felt ashamed but yet it wasn't my husband's fault that he had gotten laid off and it was just a circumstance."

Now that she's back on her feet, Manint put together a plan to give back.

"You can't let people go without food," said Manint.

So she helped organize a food drive to stock the shelves at the village's pantry.

"We're really getting the shelves filled up," said Manalisay. "And that does the heart good."

Bement students have pitched in too.

"They have been really generous and it's been appreciated," said Manalisay.

Some can only donate a couple cans. Others give more. That all adds up to one community that is willing to pitch in when needed most.

Drop-off locations in Bement from November 4 - 15
Cim-Tek Filtration
JTA Foods
Bement Library State
Bank of Bement

You can also make donations at St. Philomena & St. Michael Church in Monticello
Saturday 11/9 from 10:30 am - 5:30 pm
Sunday 11/10 from 8:30 am - 12:30 pm

Families across the country will soon feel the pinch a week after SNAP benefits took a hit. The federal government cut food assistance for more than 47 million Americans this month.

Eastern Illinois Food Bank leaders say they haven't seen a major impact yet, but they expect to see the cuts take a toll in the next 30 days. They say that's when people will start running out of benefits.

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