In the News! Christmas in July Food Drive @ Prisco’s Family Market

Diane Renner, director of the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry, and Andy Guzauskas, general manager of Prisco’s Family Market in Aurora, stand by a display at Prisco’s of items that customers can buy to help during the pantry’s summer food drive. (Tom Strong, The Beacon-News)

Beacon News Article – July 21, 2012
By Tom Strong

Aurora’s Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry is in the midst of its Christmas in July drive, and is looking for donations.

Although not a unique idea for charities which sponsor drives during the holidays, the pantry has borrowed the Christmas in July concept to help stock its shelves at a traditionally low time.

“We didn’t make up ‘Christmas in July,’ but we decided to try it to get some food in our pantry for August,” said pantry Director Diane Renner.

Prisco’s Family Market at 1108 Prairie St. in Aurora, Jewel-Osco at 1157 N. Eola Road and radio station WCCQ are partnering in the drive. which began July 16 and will continue until July 30.

“I’ve seen the trends in giving to the Marie Wilkinson pantry, and by the summertime, the shelves are pretty thin,” said Prisco. “It seemed to make sense to make people aware, and to get people to realize that this is a need throughout the year.”

At Prisco’s, there is a display of “preferred items” which the pantry frequently runs short of, and customers can make donations to purchase those items. Included in the list are spaghetti sauce, mashed potatoes, rice, peanut butter, jelly, mayonnaise, ketchup, mustard, dried beans, pasta, and tortillas.

“Prisco’s has been donating to the Marie Wilkinson Food Pantry for years as part of a food rescue program,” said store general manager Andy Guzauskas. “We’re more than happy to help out, and this drive is concentrating on easy to prepare meals.”

The Jewel-Osco store on Eola Road, together with station WCCQ, will add a unique twist to the drive July 28.

The station’s afternoon host will camp out in a Rick’s RV near the store, and has set a goal of raising $9,830 (or enough to pay for 983 meals) for the pantry. He will give updates on the station’s morning and midday shows, and will do his afternoon show from that location.

He will not eat during the entire event in order to bring awareness to hunger, and promises to stay until the goal is met, even if it means staying until the next day. The station’s radio and website listeners will also have the opportunity to make contributions.

Tom Strong is a freelance reporter for The Beacon-News

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