St. Mary Giving Basket Food Pantry
The Giving Basket Food Pantry opened in November 2004 as a result of the closing of RACO, a nonprofit group that had served the hungry in Rockwood. We began by serving approximately 12 families a month. Due to the difficult economy and the broader geographical area served we have grown to 60 or more families a month. They come to us predominately from southern downriver and northern Monroe County. No one is ever turned away. We do refer those living outside the immediate area to a food bank closer to them. The Giving Basket is housed in St. Mary Parish, however, it is a community food bank that relies on the generosity of not only our parishioners and school families but also many area business, schools, churches and individuals. Without the support of the entire community we would not be able to continue serving those in need. Donations of food, hygiene and paper products and financial assistance are gratefully accepted and fully tax deductible. Receipts for tax purposes are available upon request. These families represent a cross section of working poor (those in very low paying jobs without insurance), senior citizens, unemployed, single parents without child support, homeless individuals and others whose circumstances have caused them to be unable to provide the basic necessity of food for themselves and/or their family. We provide boxes of non-perishable food items tailored to the size of the family and hygiene (toothpaste, shampoo, etc.), household cleaners and paper products as available. Typical food items include canned meat (tuna, chicken, and ham), pasta, potatoes, soups, cereals, tea, coffee, fruits, vegetables, crackers, juice, peanut butter, jelly/jam and any other nonperishable items we receive. Bread and baked goods are periodically available and kept in 3 freezers. Seasonally we are blessed with donations of turkeys from many people which are kept frozen until the next distribution. When funds allow gift cards to the nearest grocery store (restricted from tobacco and alcohol) are included with the monthly distribution. Hygiene and paper products are always a high need item for us. Because we are so limited in what is available we currently restrict it to every other month, and sometimes are unable to meet that goal. In addition to food we also have special drives for school clothing, Christmas wishes and Easter baskets during the year. Distribution of food is scheduled the first and third Saturday of each month from 10:00 to noon. Distribution is done from the back of the parish office (32477 Church St., Rockwood-parking is on St. Stephen St.). Home delivery is available to the elderly and disabled. If a person is new to the Giving Basket or some extreme emergency occurs food can be obtained by scheduling a time to pick it up with the parish office.