The pantry serves food-insecure people three times a week, with families typically getting a box full of food each month. The staff tries to encourage healthy food choices by offering fresh fruit and veggies on their “Fresh Food Fridays.”
However, the pantry is struggling to keep up with the amount of people coming through its doors. The pantry manager says staff serves about 465 people in March — and they’re currently helping over 700 people each month.
“We’ve had to really cut back on some of the amount of food we’ve been giving out to make sure we can keep enough,” said Debbie Johns, Food Pantry Manager. “So, with, you know, inflation and the cost of things going up, it’s hard for people to donate as well.”
Johns says rising grocery costs and the lingering effects of COVID-19 have been really hard on the community. The pantry hopes to expand to reach the growing demand with a larger building, but first, staff must focus on bringing in donations.
“Numbers have grown so much that the donations from the stores have stayed steady, but the donations from other sources are drying up fast,” said Steve Day, volunteer. “Because of the cost of food, people are trying to struggle to get food on their own table, let alone give extra to people who don’t have it.”
Volunteers like Day recognize it’s hard for people to give right now, but even the smallest donation goes a long way. Staff members encourage everyone who is able to spare food to give what they can.
“Anything helps,” Day said. “Check your dates on your food, and if it’s getting close and you’re not going to use it, rather than letting it go to waste, bring it down here because we will definitely put it to good use.”
Dropping off food, like canned goods, is a great way to help the Geary County Food Pantry crew do what they do best: serve others.