By Adrianne Schinkai, Head of Reference & Circulation Services, Vicksburg District Library
The last two years have been rough. I think it is safe to say that almost everyone has suffered some trial or other, whether it is the continued COVID-19 pandemic, making ends meet with worker shortages, or battling burnout. It has been a struggle no matter what way you look at it.
While I am feeling the pressure as well, I have also noticed that I am very fortunate. I am vaccinated and have managed to avoid contracting COVID-19. I am employed when others have struggled finding work. I have been able to take time off for my health as needed. I have been blessed in a world that is looking very bleak as we go into the holidays.
Since last year, I’ve been wanting to do something to give back to the Kalamazoo community. I’ve made a couple phone calls and sent out a few emails, but nothing ever seemed to pan out. After doing a little research and speaking with my library director, I decided to use my position with the Library to give back and get the word out that members of our community need help.
I am heading a food drive at the Vicksburg District Library to benefit Kalamazoo Loaves and Fishes this holiday season. We are collecting canned and non-perishable foodstuffs with the goal of raising 600 pounds of food to distribute to those who need assistance in the greater Kalamazoo area. The drive started on Monday, November 1 and is set to close at 5 p.m., Sunday, December 19.
Why Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes? Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes has food pantries all around the metro Kalamazoo area, and one of those pantries is located here in Vicksburg. This means that any food we collect can go right back into the local community.
We have already raised enough items to fill half of our display case at the Circulation Desk. I am proud. But a staff member came in recently telling me how he was reading a news story that food banks are worried about shortages during the holiday season due to inflation. I checked online and found what he told me to be true. Newsweek and NowThis News are reporting that certain staples in food pantries and banks could be hard to come by over the next few months.
The result is, however, I feel more empowered by my task. We are going to collect as much food as we can to make sure no one in Vicksburg or Kalamazoo goes hungry this year. Here is how you can help. Go to our webpage at http://www.vicksburglibrary.org and select the menu link “Food Drive for Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes.” This page will give you all the information you need to know about the Library’s mission, including a wish list of items, the history of Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes, and whom your generous donations will benefit. Then bring your donations to the Circulation Desk of the Library. We’ll take care of the rest!
Please note that the Vicksburg District Library cannot accept monetary donations or perishable food items. However, these items are always accepted at Kalamazoo Loaves & Fishes headquarters located at 901 Portage Street, Kalamazoo, MI 49001. More information can be found on their website at http://www.kzoolf.org.
As for me, if what I am facilitating can help keep at least one family fed this holiday season, I will consider my mission accomplished. Thank you in advance for your donations and generosity this holiday season!