Staff Blogger: Rena Arter, Advancement & Communications Intern

Hunger. It’s a word that most people use when their stomach grumbles after a few hours of having no food. But, for too many people, it’s a word that means no healthy, full meals for extended periods of time. There are people in our local community who are hungry, and not the kind of hungry most of us are used to halfway throughout the day.

According to, 14.2% of the Ottawa County population experienced food insecurity in 2013. That’s about 5,860 people. Food insecurity occurs when people lack reliable access to a sufficient quantity of affordable, nutritious food.

As a past volunteer at a food pantry, I know first-hand how helpful their efforts are to families in need. Without food pantries, the percentage rate of hungry individuals would be much higher. In turn, without volunteers, food pantries wouldn’t be in existence to help fight hunger. This is why I’d like to encourage you to volunteer your time at a food pantry.

During my time as a volunteer, I met so many amazing people, both volunteering and people who arrived for their food. I happened to be one of the few people in charge of handing out the food to those in need. This experience opened my eyes. To know that people don’t receive the great food that I do daily is heart wrenching.

Although it was heart wrenching, it made me feel great to know that I was making a difference for someone. A child would have a decent, nutritious meal for a few days, and that meant so much.

It made me realize how much I take for granted when it comes to food. I probably eat enough food to feed an elephant daily, yet, I used to think nothing of it.

There are many ways to donate your time to a food pantry. Whether it’s contributing food, delivering non-perishable food items, or working in-house, every little bit of your time helps.

Lakeside Chautauqua is partnering with the Danbury Food Pantry this summer to help make a difference against hunger. The Danbury Food Pantry, located at St. Paul Lutheran Church on Church Road, feeds 50 families, and is open every third Saturday of each month. To help the cause, non-perishable items from your cottage or camper can be dropped off in the Hoover Auditorium Lobby.

Lakeside will be counting the number of items collected throughout the summer and an update will be provided about the quantity of items collected in support of the food pantry.

For more information on ways to get involved, visit to find your local food bank or pantry at home. If you would like to volunteer and help take the weekly collection from Lakeside to the Danbury Food Pantry, email

Together, we can help fight hunger in our community one person at a time.

Have you ever volunteered your time at a food pantry? If so, share your experiences by commenting below.