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Paynesville Press - March 2, 2005

Foodshelf launches its annual March food drive

By Michael Jacobson

The Paynesville Area Community Service Center - the foodshelf that serves approximately 45 households (130 people) per month - will have special drop-off hours throughout March for its annual food drive.

The majority of the food and funding for the foodshelf comes during the March food drive, said director Pam Williquette. The foodshelf also receives some grants (not matching grants, only a percentage) based on its donations during the month.

Williquette - in her first year as director and organizing her first March food drive - has instituted regular drop-off days, for convenience and confidentiality, at the center of Tuesday and Thursday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. During March, the foodshelf, located on River Street on the west end of downtown Paynesville, will also be open on Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for dropoffs.

The Paynesville Area Community Service Center is open to clients every Wednesday morning from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., except on the fourth Wednesday of each month when it is open on Wednesday afternoon from 2 to 6 p.m. Appointments are also available, but only in emergencies. The center serves people in the Paynesville area, including from Belgrade, Eden Valley, Hawick, Lake Henry, Richmond, and Roscoe.

In addition to monetary donations, needed food items during the March drive include: fresh potatoes, fresh carrots, canned tomato products, canned beef stew, canned mixed vegetables, peanut butter, jelly, ranch dressing, French dressing, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, tuna, applesauce, vegetable/beef soup, creamed soups, rice, flour, pancake mix and syrup, shampoo, toothpaste, dish soap, bar soap, liquid hand soap, diapers, frozen juice, hamburger, hot dogs, and chicken.

This year, Williquette plans to have a competition for gathering March food donations among local churches, schools, grocery stores, and other businesses. Watch the Press for updates.

Williquette has been "delighted" by the community support of the center in her first year as director. She expects a similar response in March for the food drive. "I have not been disappointed by this community," said Williquette. "You know, the foodshelf would not exist without the community providing the resources to make it happen."

The Paynesville Area Community Service Center is also pursuing a new building, and the community gave over $10,000 at a special offering at local churches in February. With $40,000 in pledges from area Lions Clubs, including the Paynesville club, which is spearheading the building project, they have over half of the total estimated project cost of $95,000 earmarked for the project, said Williquette. Their next step is to apply for a grant from Lions International for the other half of the project costs.

Instead of their current building, a renovated house, a new 75' by 40' building would be more functional and handicap-accessible, according to Williquette. It would be located at the corner of Railroad Street and Lake Avenue, on the east end of downtown Paynesville.

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