08/30/12 — Local pantry low on food

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Local pantry low on food

By Becky Barclay
Published in News on August 30, 2012 1:46 PM

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Lt. Julie Igleheart shows the food pantry shelves that are just about empty except for a few cans of vegetables -- not enough to give out for a meal. The Salvation Army ran out of food last week and is looking to the public for help in restocking its food pantry.

The Salvation Army's food pantry needs help from the community to be able to assist families who are struggling to put food on their table.

Commander Lt. Kenny Igleheart said the pantry ran out of non-perishable items last week. This week, although some items have come in, there is still not enough to provide much help to hungry families.

"We called the Department of Social Services, that refers people to us, and asked them to stop referring to us until we try to find some resources to restock our pantry shelves."

Igleheart even called some other Salvation Army units close by to see if they had any food they could spare, but had no luck.

The Salvation Army's ladies auxiliary here pitched in and collected food the end of the week, but it was enough for only eight boxes and it went fast, Igleheart said.

Although Igleheart has been in Wayne County for only about a year and doesn't know if the Salvation Army here has ever run out of food, he knows it's not uncommon for Salvation Army units to run out of food during the summer.

"The general public remembers those who are less fortunate during Thanksgiving, Christmas and the first of the year," Igleheart said. "But the need doesn't go away. It's year-round. That's why we try to find other resources such as food drives to help us out throughout the year."

One reason why the food gave out was because the Salvation Army has had less resources this year than in past years.

"But we're still having about 60 families a month come in for food," Igleheart said.

Each family gets a predetermined amount of food depending on its size.

For example, a family of two would get one box with about 30 nonperishable canned items in it. And the Salvation Army likes to also put in other items like rice or macaroni and cheese.

"We also like to put in breakfast cereal, especially if there are children involved," Igleheart said. "But it depends on what's been donated."

A box of food will last a family anywhere from three to five days.

"Our goal is to help the family out with this immediate emergency," Igleheart said. "A family may have a car break down, a medical emergency or some other emergency and has to use its money for that instead of food. We're not meant to be here long-term. We're here to help with that emergency need."

Salvation Army guidelines allow a family to receive a food box only once every six months.

"We also refer clients to the Department of Social Services," Igleheart said. "We make sure they've applied for food stamps because some people come to us who've never applied for food stamps before and don't even know what the process is."

Igleheart said those turned away because the Salvation Army has run out of food might be going to other groups for help or maybe even the Soup Kitchen for their next meal.

He said it's hard to turn hungry people away.

Lt. Julie Igleheart had a woman with three children come in recently to get food, and the Salvation Army helped her with other needs, too. She cried and thanked the group for its help, saying she had nowhere else to turn.

Anyone or any group wanting to help restock the Salvation Army's food pantry can collect items and take them to the pantry, or they can donate funds that will be used to purchase food items.

However, when collecting items, make sure they are not expired, Igleheart warned.

The group needs about $2,000 in food to carry it to the holiday season.

"We don't ever want to see anybody hungry," Igleheart said. "I'm a true believer that if we put the word out, the community will respond and help us."