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St. Vincent food pantry gets very large delivery

By JOSHUA VISSERS

Houghton Daily

Mining Gazette

HANCOCK — The St. Vincent DePaul Food Pantry accepted more than 1,000 pounds of food yesterday from WLUC’s Canathon Holiday food drive. Eagle Radio volunteers picked up the food from various collection locations in the area and brought it to the food pantry in Hancock late Tuesday afternoon. The bags, boxes and cases of food covered tables all around the walls of the pantry’s front room.

Now starts the long effort to sort and organize all of the donations, according to volunteer coordinators Tom and Vicky Vichich.

“One year it took us until the end of January,” Tom said.

The pantry operates with an all-volunteer staff. Volunteers come in regularly to help with distribution, packing, checking eligibility and — when large shipments come in — date sorting.

Food that is close or past their expiration date are distributed first. Cans of food beyond the printed date are typically safe to eat for months, Vicky said. The date is only when some of the nutritional value begins to degrade, not when it starts to spoil. The pantry regularly gets out-of-date food donations from Pat’s Foods.

Even so, some food is too far out of date to be dispersed to other people, but Vicky said even that is put to use. Once a box or two has built up, the potentially spoiled food is given to a local pig farmer.

The pantry is looking for volunteers to help with sorting this year’s donations. Because of the limited open hours of the pantry, groups of volunteers — youth groups, bible studies, fraternities, etc. — are especially helpful for sorting and can schedule mutually convenient times to help sort the donations, Vicky said. Individuals can be scheduled to come in at the same time as larger volunteer groups.

The food pantry, located at 206 Quincy in Hancock, serves the underfed through almost all of Houghton County. The Calumet-Laurium-Keweenaw area has another food pantry serving there.

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