From now through the end of March, the North Liberty Community Pantry is holding its “Roll into Spring” campaign to collect rolls of toilet paper.
“A lot of people don’t realize we provide more than food,” said Jake Putnam, the pantry’s marketing and development coordinator. “Last year, we provided more than 10,000 rolls of toilet paper to the families we serve.”
But providing that basic need is a challenge for the pantry. Although there are nonprofits like Table to Table that help supply the food, there’s no similar organization to assist with toilet paper.
“There’s not a good way to get toilet paper at a reduced price,” Putnam said. “We buy it in bulk at Costco at the same price everyone else pays for it, so it gets expensive.”
That’s why toilet paper is one of the few items the pantry puts limits on. Currently, each family is only allowed one roll each week.
“If you have a large family, you can go through that really quickly,” Putnam said. “We’re going to try to increase the amount we can give, but we’re already spending about $3,000 a year on toilet paper right now.”
This the second Roll into Spring drive. Last year, the pantry was able to collect more than 1,500 rolls. Putnam said the pantry is working with businesses around northern Johnson County to collect donations, and hopes to double last year’s number of rolls by the time the drive concludes at the end of March.
Anyone in the Iowa City area who wants to help with the drive can bring unopened packages of toilet paper to Little Village’s office at 623 S Dubuque St, between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. At the end of March, we’ll pack up all the donations and drive them to the pantry.
Those who prefer to donate money to support the pantry can do so through its website.
The North Liberty Community Pantry was founded in 1985 as an outreach ministry of the North Liberty United Methodist Church. It regularly serves the needs of over 760 families throughout northern Johnson County.
The pantry is located at 89 North Jones Blvd in North Liberty. Shopping hours are 10 a.m. to noon, Monday through Thursday, as well as Saturday. There are also afternoon shopping hours — 3 to 6 p.m. — on Tuesday and Thursday.
Donations of food, clothing and, of course, toilet paper are accepted at the pantry from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Thursday.