Don Edmonson, president-coordinator of the Hampshire Coon Creek Country Days Committee, and his wife, Maile, of Hampshire presented a check for $7,500 to the Burlington-Hampshire Area Food Pantry on Saturday morning to pantry volunteers. Shown from left: Carl Palmisano, Monica Soebbing, Maile and Don Edmonson, Audrey Sparr (holding the check), Barbara Brust, Joanne Peterson, Scott Almquist and Dorothy Paddock. | Denise Moran ~ For Sun-Times Media
Updated: December 26, 2012 6:31AM
HAMPSHIRE — The Burlington-Hampshire Area Food Pantry, 147 Mill Avenue in Hampshire, was given a check for $7,500 this week from the proceeds of the 2012 Hampshire Coon Creek Country Days held in August.
The check was presented by Don Edmonson, president-coordinator of the Hampshire Coon Creek Country Days Committee, and his wife, Maile, of Hampshire.
“The Burlington-Hampshire Area Food Pantry is the primary beneficiary of all the fundraising efforts of Hampshire Coon Creek Country Days,” said Edmonson. “Last year, the committee made a $4,000 cash donation to the food pantry. In addition, the committee has committed to providing new signage for the building and street advertising for Monday’s food distribution.”
Edmonson noted that “the committee is committed to enabling the furtherance of pantry objectives through its fundraising efforts. The committee organizes and hosts Hampshire Coon Creek Country Days to achieve these aims. We want to thank the community, volunteers and especially sponsors for supporting our festival. Without them, the pantry donation would not have happened.”
Edmonson said that the 2012 Coon Creek County Days was bigger than the one held the year before.
“The festival has grown,” he said. “We keep looking forward to doing it. Next year, it will be held on Thursday to Sunday, August 1 to 4, 2013.”
The pantry serves needy families on the third Monday of the month from 8:30 to 10 a.m. and from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on the Saturday following the third Monday.
Dorothy Paddock and Barbara Brust are the pantry’s food coordinators. According to Paddock, there are usually 20 to 25 volunteers who help out every month. Laurie Dunbar is the pantry president. Audrey Sparr serves as its treasurer, and Monica Soebbing is the pantry’s secretary.
The pantry is a faith-based, non-profit organization in partnership with the Northern Illinois Food Bank.
The pantry began in November, 1995, when the Hampshire Lions Club, St. Charles Borromeo Catholic Church and Hampshire’s First United Methodist Church, along with local church members and service clubs, decided that a food pantry was needed.
The First United Methodist Church offered its church facility for the pantry’s needs until Sept. 19, 2011, when the pantry moved to its current location. The pantry originally served approximately 20 families. It now serves around 60 to 75 families each month.
“We gave away 57 turkeys during the November distribution this year,” Paddock said. “We had seven new families in November. Every month, a different church or organization is in charge of getting volunteers. We’re grateful to the Hampshire Coon Creek Country Days Committee for their help.”
Items most frequently needed by the pantry include: shelf stable food items, diapers and wipes, dish detergent, toilet paper, paper towels and tissues, shampoo and conditioner, bath soaps and body wash, feminine hygiene products, and deodorants.
People in need who come to the pantry for the first time should bring photo identification and a current utility bill that proves residence in the Burlington-Hampshire area. People are only able to receive assistance once each month.
Donated items can be dropped off at any local church; First American or Old Second banks; the Ella Johnson Memorial Public Library; Hampshire Village Hall or the Burlington Post Office.
Cash donations can be mailed to: Burlington-Hampshire Area Food Pantry, P.O. Box 651, Hampshire, IL 60140.
Volunteers are always needed to sort and shelve food items or to assist with distributions. For more information, call (224) 400-7130.