Northeast Iowa communities came together for a benefit brunch was served to raise funds for the Fayette County Food Shelf at the Fayette Community Church Sunday, February 16. The food pantry suffered a fire New Year’s Eve, losing all their food for the hungry that feed about 2,000 people each year. Groups, organizations and businesses are coming to the aid to help the pantry continue its services by providing fundraisers or donations.
Besides the generous donations for the breakfast brunch by their community, two of our area businesses stepped up with very generous donations. Dean Rockweiler of Rockweiler Appliance & TV from Decorah donated four freezers and four refrigerators and The Lynch Family Foundation; part of Lynch Livestock & Lynch BBQ Company based out of Waucoma donated 1,000 pounds of pork. The brunch brought in $829. The month before there was a benefit in Arlington that brought in about $1,000.
The Lynch family has been known making hefty donations to food pantries (especially meat) and to families in need. When Erin Golly from Decorah, spokesperson for The Lynch Family Foundation, found out about the fire, she approached Rockweiler’s to donate freezers and refrigerators and the rest is history. “It's tough for the food pantries, especially with a disaster like they had,” said Dean Rocweiler.
The Fayette County Food Shelf that suffered heavy damage in a New Year’s Eve fire, besides possibly $50,000 in food alone to feed the hungry.
“The support is such a blessing. The food shelf depends on donations and grants to provide its services,” explains thankful Pantry Manager and Calmar native Karen (Gerleman) Martin.
After finding temporary housing for the pantry, they are now moved in to the old thrift shop which the Martin’s also own and was partly damaged and took a lot of cleaning to get rid of the smoke residue. After Duane Martin closed off the old Food Shelf from the thrift store, the couple and volunteers then spent many hours of clean up, repair and painting the old thrift store turned new Food Shelf. The Fayette County FFA members help transport items to the new Fayette County Food Shelf over a week ago and the doors are now open at the new location. Karen said they are still deciding what to do with the building where the fire broke out.
The next fundraiser for the pantry is a brunch at the Clermont Opera House Sunday, February 23 from 8 a.m. to noon. If you or your organization or business would like to help the Food Shelf get back on their feet contact Karen Martin at 319-269-7484 or at the Food Shelf at 425-3399, or mail a check to PO Box 711, Fayette, IA 52142.