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Community volunteers give food pantry help for the holidays

By Sue Sitter - | Dec 26, 2020

Sue Sitter/PCT Volunteer Katelyn Duchscher takes a box of holiday food for delivery to a Rugby family.

The Rugby Armory buzzed with activity Dec. 19 as volunteers streamed into the Pierce County Food Pantry to pick up 100 turkeys and boxes of trimmings to deliver to area households for the Christmas season.

Sounds of high school basketball players practicing for a big game drifted out of the armory gym. People from throughout the community walked to a nearby room where they grabbed boxes filled with stuffing mix, potatoes, margarine for cooking and treats.

“Don’t forget the turkeys,” said Vonnie Degenstein, who coordinated the holiday distribution for the Pierce County Food Pantry. Cardboard boxes of frozen turkeys sat outside in the cold, near the parking lot.

“We have a lot of volunteers this year,” Degenstein said, eyes showing a smile above the mask on her face. “The regular volunteers who came up yesterday, the ones that assembled the boxes – we did that in an hour and a half. They did it so fast.”

Pointing to small containers with handles and Christmas decorations in each food box, Degenstein said, “These are from the 4-H kids. They did cookies for us.”

Degenstein often paused to give directions to the many volunteers walking in and out of the room.

In just minutes, she said, “That’s the last of our boxes.”

Families living in rural areas received boxes from the food pantry as well.

“We’ve got people from out in the country. They come and pick their own up,” Degenstein noted. “They get a full box of food.

“This is all purchased from Leevers,” Degenstein said of the turkeys and trimmings. “Except our fruit – we got our fruit from the FFA kids. They bought that.

“The money came from donations,” Degenstein added. “We had a big bill to pay at Leevers, needless to say.

“We are very grateful to the community,” Degenstein said. “We had an overabundance of people to help this year. It was great, because last year, we were struggling to find people to help. This year, they just came out of the woodwork.”

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