There are certain organizations that are regular contributors to the Norfolk Good Neighbors program, such as the American Postal Workers Union and its Auxiliary.
Bonnie Kroeger, who is the secretary-treasurer for the local auxiliary 1187, said the organization began donating years ago to the food pantry before the Good Neighbors took it over in late 2011.
Since then, the auxiliary routinely donates funds to both Good Neighbors and the food pantry. Along with those donations, the Norfolk Postal Workers Union 1187 also routinely donates, including $500 to Good Neighbors last year.
Bonnie’s husband, Gene, was a member of the postal workers union until his retirement. Many spouses of workers belong to the auxiliary, including Bonnie.
Kroeger said every year the union has a state convention that rotates cities, including Norfolk. Last spring, it was Norfolk’s turn.
As part of the gathering, the auxiliary often collects food and other donations for charity. Last year, the union auxiliary collected 151 stuffed animals and 152 books for the Wesley Center, Northeast Nebraska Child Advocacy Center and the Salvation Army. Also collected was $1,493 in food and donations for the food pantry and $1,302 for the Boyd County Flood Relief Program.
Kroeger said the auxiliary likes to donate cash to the food pantry because Allene Johnson, who manages the local Good Neighbors and food pantry, purchases food when she can obtain twice as much for the same price. In effect, she makes the funds go twice as far, she said.
“Allene has been a rock down there,” Kroeger said. “She has told me a lot about the food pantry.”
The Kroegers also belong to the First Congregational United Church of Christ, one of the churches whose members both donate food and time at the food pantry.
The Kroegers also have a pear tree that produces pears by the five-gallon bucket. Bonnie often brings some of the bounty into the Good Neighbors, and the pears are donated to people who will eat them or can them.
The pear tree produces pears in late fall, often right up until the first heavy freeze. Once picked, the pears ripen in a cool place, usually after three or four days.
Kroeger said the pear tree has been producing pears for “46 or 47 years,” almost as long as she and Gene have been married. They celebrated their 50th anniversary last summer. The last of the pears only recently ripened from this year.
So have the Kroegers ever seen a partridge in their pear tree this time of year?
“No, we have never seen a partridge, but that would be a good one,” she said with a laugh.