GENOA – Denise Hornbeck couldn’t sleep one night, trying to think of ways to help the food bank in Hampshire, where she lives.
She got on Facebook and started what she called the “$20 food drive,” asking other members of the Wildcats Youth Football League booster club to donate $20 worth of a single item. Sixty-five families responded, and were assigned products like Pop-Tarts, Ritz crackers, canned nuts or flour to donate. That way, she explained, she knew the food pantry would receive a variety of needed items.
When a friend told Crystal Grismer of Genoa about the drive, she decided to do the same thing for the Genoa-Kingston Ministerial Food Pantry, inside Faith United Methodist Church in Genoa.
“Denise came up with the idea and I ran with it,” Grismer said.
Since 2008, Grismer has run Crystal’s Classifieds, a Facebook group where members list sales and community events within 30 miles of Genoa. She put out a request to the group’s 2,800 members asking for help with a $20 food drive, hoping 25 families would respond.
The response was overwhelming. In three weeks, 88 families spent $1,760 on 1,373 items for the food pantry.
“This is amazing,” she said.
When Grismer delivered the donations to the food pantry on April 17, her Chevy Surburban was so weighed down she had it weighed at a local grain elevator. It weighed 7,240 pounds full; she had it weighed again after dropping off the items and found it 1,560 pounds lighter.
“This is wonderful,” said Judy Thompson, who oversees the food pantry. “A lot of our people are going to be very happy.”
All the volunteers helping with the delivery agreed they were impressed that in a time of need a small community can come together.
Thompson said food is distributed to Genoa and Kingston families from 9 to 11 a.m. on the third Monday of the month. The number of recipients, she said, fluctuates from 45 to as many as 130. For more information, call 815-784-5989.
Grismer plans to hold the same fundraiser twice a year, in April and October. In the future, she will coordinate with Thompson to address the pantry’s specific needs, she said.