TIVERTON — Tiverton’s Town Council-sponsored holiday food drive is in full swing. Five colorfully decorated bins stand ready in Town Hall to accept donations.
All that’s left is for generous people to stop by Town Hall (during normal business hours, and after-hours meetings) or the Food Pantry at East Bay Community Action Food Pantry on Stafford Road and leave off contributions.
As Town Councilor Bill Gerlach said in a letter to this paper, “especially needed are foods high in protein (peanut butter, tuna, canned beans), carbohydrates (healthy breakfast cereals, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, granola), and canned fruit and veggies.”
Mr. Gerlach presented the outlines and the need for the food drive to the council at a meeting at the end of November. The drive lasts from Nov. 27 through Dec. 17.
The need in Tiverton for the program is well-documented, Mr. Gerlach said. Citing figures for the calendar year Nov. 1, 2011 through Oct. 31, 2012 provided to him by officers of the East Bay Community Action Program, Mr. Gerlach said:
• 1,021 individuals used the food pantry in the last year noted;
• 469 families/households did so in the same time frame;
• An average 120 families/households use the pantry monthly;
• On average, a family receives two bags (about 20 pounds) of groceries every visit;
• The pantry distributes approximately 1,500 pounds weekly, or 6,000 pounds monthly;
• About 94 percent of participants are repeat participants, about half of whom have participated for between one and three years, and one-third have participated for more than three years.
“Such numbers should give us pause and help us realize that the problem of hunger is alive and well in our neck of the woods,” Mr. Gerlach said. “Nothing defines a community more than its ability to come together to help a neighbor in need.”