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Poshard Foundation Distributes $75,000 to 27 Area Food Pantries to Help Feed Hungry

Perry Patterson with the Murphysboro Food Pantry, is also shown with Jo Poshard, co-founder of the Poshard Foundation for Abused, Neglected and Abandoned Children. The Murphysboro Food Pantry was one of 27 area charitable organizations that received between $1,000 and $5,000 from the foundation to help feed the hungry. (Logan Media Services photo)

Perry Patterson with the Murphysboro Food Pantry, is also shown with Jo Poshard, co-founder of the Poshard Foundation for Abused, Neglected and Abandoned Children. The Murphysboro Food Pantry was one of 27 area charitable organizations that received between $1,000 and $5,000 from the foundation to help feed the hungry. (Logan Media Services photo)

BY JOHN D. HOMAN
Logan Media Services

CARTERVILLE – Describing child hunger as an “American tragedy,” Jo Poshard, co-director of the Poshard Foundation for Abused, Neglected and Abandoned Children, addressed the issue Wednesday by donating $75,000 to 27 different food pantries in the region.

“To think that we have children going to bed hungry is indeed tragic,” Poshard said. “Sometimes, the only meal they’re getting is at school. Having enough to eat is essential for health, family stability, and child welfare.”

Poshard said stress in the home can lead to child abuse and neglect, and she said the Foundation wants to do what it can to make sure that hunger does not contribute to that stress.

“We looked at our resources and made a decision that this is one of the best ways to help our children,” she said. “With this money, we’re reaching into 16 different counties, or 27 different food pantries.”

Poshard said the need to replenish pantries in Southern Illinois is great, especially this time of the year.

Mike Heath, Executive Director of Good Samaritan Ministries in Carbondale, said those persons needing assistance has grown while commodities decrease.

“We had 8,000 kids, age 12 or younger, going through our food pantry last year,” he said. “That’s about 50 percent of the people we serve. This money from the Poshard Foundation really helps. That organization has been a great friend to the Southern Illinois food pantries in this ongoing battle against childhood hunger.”

Sam Garnati, representing the Herrin Food Pantry, is pictured with Jo Poshard, co-founder of the Poshard Foundation for Abused, Neglected and Abandoned Children, housed at John A. Logan College. The Herrin Food Pantry was one of 27 area charitable organizations that received between $1,000 and $5,000 from the foundation to help feed the hungry. (Logan Media Services)

Sam Garnati, representing the Herrin Food Pantry, is pictured with Jo Poshard, co-founder of the Poshard Foundation for Abused, Neglected and Abandoned Children, housed at John A. Logan College. The Herrin Food Pantry was one of 27 area charitable organizations that received between $1,000 and $5,000 from the foundation to help feed the hungry. (Logan Media Services)

J.R. Russell, representing the Marion Ministerial Alliance, said the extra money comes at a time when the demand for food typically increases.

“It (the increased demand) really has become a dangerous trend over the last several months,” he said. “We serve about 2,000 meals a month through our soup kitchen and over 400 different families through our pantry and about 50 percent of that is children. And I don’t see things getting that much better over the horizon.”

John A. Logan College President, Dr. Mike Dreith, said the holiday season makes the monetary donation by the Poshard Foundation even more important.

“When we think about this time of the year, we think about family,” he said. “And as Jo so eloquently put it, families that are hungry sometimes aren’t happy families. Hunger can cause strife within the structure of the family. That’s why I think this donation is a wonderful gesture.”

Dreith said he’s proud that the college has partnered with the Poshard Foundation.

“At a community college, the focus needs to be on serving the community,” he said. “And I can’t find a better way for us to help children than to house a place like this – the ultimate in safety nets for people that need things. We’re proud to be a part of the Poshard Foundation movement.”

Charitable agencies receiving funding Wednesday, ranging from $1,000 to $5,000, include the following: Trico Area Food Bank; Benton/West City Ministerial Alliance; Bethany Village of Anna; Christian Community Compassion Center in Harrisburg; Christopher Food Pantry – Ministry for the Broken Hearted; Community of Christ Church Food Pantry in Thompsonville; Community United Pantry in Carterville; COPE in Grantsburg; Daystar Community Program in Cairo; Du Quoin Food Pantry; Good Samaritan Ministries and Food Pantry of Carbondale; Goreville Ministerial Alliance; Greater Galatia Ministerial Alliance; Happy Helpers of Tamms; Harvest Deliverance Center of Harrisburg; Herrin Community Pantry; Hurst Emergency Food Bank; Kitchen Table of Cairo; Marion Ministerial Alliance; Murphysboro Food Pantry; St. Joseph Church Food Pantry of Cobden; Shalom Food Pantry of Grand Tower; Shepherd’s Closet of Marion; Southern Seven Health Department; Victory Dream Center of Carbondale; Vienna Food Pantry; and Wabash Area Development.

For more information on making a donation, contact the Poshard Foundation at (618) 985-2828 ext. 8564 or send an email to joposhard@jalc.edu.