People tend to be very generous around the holidays, donating food, time and money to a number of worthy causes. However, the fact is there are just as many hungry people in August as there are in December - and the need is just as great.
The Custer County Food Pantry in Broken Bow is suffering. In fact, to say their supplies are low would be a drastic understatement! And yet there are still families who need to be served.
Minister Kathy Salts and Pastor Mike Wheatly are currently sharing the responsibility of overseeing the food pantry, following the retirement of Kathy LaRoque. The Broken Bow Ministerial Association has always handled both the donations and the distribution of the supplies, along with a dedicated team of volunteers.
“Our service has not lessened during the summer months. We still have the same number of people,” explains Salts.
She says the pantry serves an average of 80 families per month, and that number has remained consistent throughout the year.
Right now the food pantry is in need of just about everything. Those particular items needed most include: canned vegetables and fruits, canned soups, cereals, juices, boxed items such as macaroni and cheese and hamburger helper, canned meats such as tuna and chicken, and peanut butter.
The food pantry also has two deep freezes and can accept frozen meat and vegetables. While they cannot accept home-canned items of any kind, they can take home frozen items.
Salts and Wheatly explain that the main purpose of the food pantry is to help people get through a rough patch. “Our goal is to help people get over that hump until pay day,” says Salts. She says the majority of the people who utilize the food pantry are employed.
Along with the food items mentioned above, the food pantry also always welcomes any kind of paper products. Those items particularly needed include toilet paper, soaps and shampoos. Those are necessary items for families, and cannot be purchased with food stamps.
Anyone who would prefer to just make a monetary donation to the food pantry is also encouraged to do so. Those funds then allow the volunteers to be able to purchase items as needed.
The one thing Salts and Wheatly do request of anyone making food donations is to check the dates on the cans. They explain that if an item is too outdated it has to be thrown away.
One local church is working this week to do its part in helping address the current need at the food pantry. The Broken Bow branch of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, along with members from other area churches – including the Church of Christ in Broken Bow, distributed empty grocery bags Wednesday evening with a request to fill the bags with non-perishable food items, as well as toiletries and paper products.
Saturday morning, Aug. 13, from 7 till 11 a.m. the bags will be picked up and donated items brought back to the church and transported to the food pantry. The church will also have a drop-off area set-up at the downtown city square park Saturday morning till 11 a.m.
While finishing your back-to-school shopping this week, it might be a good time to keep in mind those less fortunate and pick up a few items for the food pantry. Giving just feels good - any time of year!