BENSON — Community Food Pantry of Benson board members and volunteers wish to thank the people of Benson for their support.

“Because of this amazing community, we raised $1,500 at our Vendor & Craft Fair on April 17 through donated items that we sold at our pantry booth,” said Pat Sepulveda-Myers, food pantry secretary. “We also received a donation of nearly $500 from Gunny’s Barbecue. He (owner Luis Aviles) was the fair’s only food vendor and donated all of his proceeds to the food pantry.”

Vendors were pleased with the event’s turnout and reported making as much money in one day as they typically would in a month, Sepulveda-Myers said.

“We got great reviews from everyone we spoke to,” she added. “I think people were happy about getting out and doing things again after being shut in so long because of COVID.”

H&R Block presented the pantry with a $1,000 donation on April 26, bringing the nonprofit organization’s combined fundraising and donation total to $3,000.

Every Wednesday, the pantry distributes food to upward of 800 people who need assistance. While the organization receives food from the USDA Feeding America program, the pantry supplements those distributions with food items it purchases, said Najayyah Many Horses, president of the food pantry board. To date, more than 6,500 food boxes have been provided to people in the Benson area this year.

“The community has really come together to support our efforts, and for that we’re very grateful,” Many Horses said. “We also provide the community with pet food and supplies and we occasionally have diapers for children and adults. We accept nonperishable food items, but ask that when cleaning out your cabinets that you do not give us expired food because we are required to throw it away.”