09/04/11 — Soup kitchen, food pantries have little increase in need after storm

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Soup kitchen, food pantries have little increase in need after storm

By Ty Johnson
Published in News on September 4, 2011 1:50 AM

Natural disasters often test humanitarian aid groups like soup kitchens and food pantries and their ability to deliver to those in need, but support organizations throughout Wayne County said they weathered the storm with little to no issues when Hurricane Irene blacked out much of the area, leaving thousands without power.

Kathy Hennessy, a member of the Society Of Saint Vincent Depaul, an arm of St. Mary's Catholic Church, said the organization did see an upswing in food requests following Irene's daylong stay in eastern North Carolina.

"Last week, after the hurricane, we saw an increase in the requests for food," she said.

Mrs. Hennessy said the organization typically receives requests for financial help with utility payments, but the storms led to more individuals asking for food after power outages cost many homes their ability to keep food from spoiling.

She said the food stocks come from parishioners' donations, as well as through post office food drives and it is distributed whenever need is displayed.

Allan Harvin, the president of the Goldsboro Community Soup Kitchen Board, said that although 20 individuals braved the storm in need of food on the Saturday that Irene came through, there wasn't a noticeable increase in patrons in the days that followed.

The soup kitchen lost power for some time over the weekend, he said, but didn't lose any of its food. Harvin said the power wasn't out long enough to warrant the disposal of any food.

Without power during the storm, he said staff members turned out to make peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and hand out potato chips and tea.

Harvin said there also hadn't been an increase in donations following the storm as people dumped their emergency stocks following the stormy weekend, but added that donations have been at a low point, perhaps due to the economy, all year.

He said he's counting on the soup kitchen's signature fundraising event, a chili cook-off planned for Oct. 27, to help assure that the kitchen's stocks aren't depleted.

Harvin said the kitchen feeds between 100 and 150 individuals per day.