Deacon Mike Grzadzielewski has been with the Walsh County Emergency Food Pantry for 6 months. Mike donates six hours a week at the food pantry. The pantry is open three hours a day, four days a week. Those three hours a day Mike and volunteers do everything from working with the clients, packing bags, stocking shelves, accepting donations and cleaning. The Walsh County Food Pantry has around 40 volunteers who work 3 to 6 hours per month. Even though, Deacon Grzadzielewski has never been affected by hunger, he said his drive is to help feed those in need in our community.
Deacon Grzadzielewski recalls a story that really hit him. “We had a family come in just before Christmas for help with utilities (another program offered by St. John’s and the Grafton Ministerial Association). In our talk with them, we found out they had no way to purchase a holiday meal or even small gifts for their children. We were able to provide a dinner for them and even a couple of small toys for the children. They left feeling they had been given a gift—and so did I.”
The Walsh County Food Pantry is the only food pantry that serves Walsh County. In 2015 the pantry distributed 1,383 food baskets, which fed 1,100 families, including 2,118 children. Additionally, 48 children were aided with the Backpack Program in Grafton and Park River schools. The pantry distributed 86,125 lbs of food/personal care items to those families we have served. There was an 18% increase in use of the Food Pantry from 2014 and they rely on Great Plains Food Bank, community members, businesses, churches, and schools to help with food donations and food drives. Deacon Grzadzielewski stresses, “As fast as stuff comes into the Food Pantry, it goes out, so we are always looking for items.”
The Walsh County Food Pantry is in need of the following items:
- Canned Fruit
- Shelf Stable Milk
- Peanut Butter
- Personal Care Items