Monday, September 17, 2012
Moore Asks Grafton Food Pantry "Come Back Home"
The Grafton Food Pantry's been operating out of donated warehouse space on Huntley's Smith Drive for the last three years but now the location's snarled in mortgage problems and the organization needs to move by the end of the year.
Pantry Board President Kathy Schneiter called Moore's proposal "interesting" but dismissed it saying the Township Headquarters are too small. "We currently have 2,100 square feet," she said, "and we're looking for 2,500." Even counting closets and the Clerk's office, the Grafton Offices have less than 1,000 square feet of available floor space.
Everyone agrees then-Supervisor Vern Brunscheon organized the Pantry's precursor as an informal group operating out of the Township headquarters in 1989. Fender denies she's ever been part of the Pantry, even as a volunteer. "I was there as a customer once," she said. "I'm not ashamed of it. This year I've been dropping off vegetables from my garden."
In 2006 the Grafton Township Food Pantry registered with the Secretary of State as a charitable non-profit with a formal Board of Directors headed by then-Supervisor John Rossi. Six months after the 2009 election in which Moore edged Rossi, the Pantry left the Township Offices under circumstances murky even at the time.
After the move, in two instances in 2009 and 2010 FEN's been able to document, Moore or a staffer told potential Pantry donors it didn't exist any more. Early last year Moore set up a competing food pantry operating out of a small room in the Grafton headquarters. Likewise last year, Moore tried to convince Grafton's audit firm the original Pantry still actually belonged to Grafton Township. In a 2009-10 management letter Auditor Paul Thermen eventually concluded it didn't, at least from an accounting standpoint.
Last November Moore had John Nelson, her attorney in the long-running legal battle she's had with the rest of the Grafton Board, send a letter to Rossi, who, unknown to most, had just resigned as Pantry President. FEN filed to obtain a copy of it under the Illinois Freedom of Information act but Moore refused claiming it was exempt from disclosure. FEN's appeal to the Illinois Attorney General on that is now over 9 months old and still unresolved.
Schneiter said the Grafton Township Food Pantry which filed an official DBA as the Grafton Food Pantry this Summer currently serves "about 200 families each month".
In the pic: A Mobile Food Pantry distribution at the Grafton Food Pantry last month.