Rock River Valley Pantry in Urgent Need of Donations

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The Rock River Valley Pantry is issuing an urgent plea for food donations.

Supplies have reached an all-time low and the number of families in need has gone through the roof.

The pantry's executive director says the situation is getting scary. Some 1,600 families are coming to the pantry each month, double that of last year and to add to the problem, donations are down.

Michael Bonacqusti and his wife just moved to Rockford. The couple lives off of disability payments, but it's not enough and they look for help at the Rock River Valley Food Pantry.

"It's very hard right now to get by. Very, very hard and it is very hard to keep us fed. Thank god they have this place here cuz they've kept us fed,” says Bonacquisti.

The Bonaqusti's are not alone. Hundreds of new families are coming to the pantry as the economy sours and layoffs follow.

"We've had almost 350 news families come to the pantry. Completely new families that have never come before. That's a lot of new people. It's kind of scary,” says Michele Garcia, Executive Director.

Garcia says the increase in families isn't the only problem. Empty shelves and dwindling supplies are a serious concern, "We're either going to have to cut back the amount of food we're giving people or how many hours we're open to serve people and that against what we do here, what we've been doing since 1974.”

Garcia says recent news of consolidated freight's closure and 40 job losses in the Rockford area create more cause for concern.

The Rockford area has seen thousands of layoffs over the past year.

Now you can help by dropping off donations at 1080 Short Elm Street or calling 965-2466. Pantry officials say they're completely out of canned vegetables, but all donations are greatly appreciated.