The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Local News

July 15, 2012

Local food pantries seek donations to keep up with demand

JOPLIN, Mo. — Kerri Downey left Crosslines on Friday with three plastic grocery bags of crackers, bread and canned goods.

It was the first time in recent memory that she has sought assistance with food from the Joplin agency, she said.

“We moved into a new place and (are) in between paychecks,” she said. “The economy is what got us.”

Staff at local food pantries have said they’ve seen an increase this summer in the number of people needing their services. While demand for food assistance is on the rise, the supply hasn’t necessarily been keeping up; many of the agencies have recently put out calls asking for donations.

Konrad Fehrenbach, who manages the food pantry at Joplin Crosslines, said that in the two years he has worked there, the number of people seeking food assistance from the organization has doubled, according to his estimates. Food donations haven’t always matched that increase and, in some cases, have actually declined from year to year, he said.

The shelves inside the pantry speak to the need — many of them are empty. A note taped above Fehrenbach’s desk reads: “Oh no — July commodities!!! It’s gonna get ugly!” Those government-donated items for the month of July, which included several shelves’ worth of canned peaches, were more than half gone as of Friday, Fehrenbach said.

Summer is normally a busy time for the food pantry of the Wesley House in Pittsburg, Kan., executive director Ellie Foster said. A large part of that is parents seeking extra food for children who normally eat breakfast and lunch at school during the academic year, she said.

But Foster said this summer has been particularly busy, even by those standards.

“Normally we kind of expected our shelves will be pretty bare by the end of July or the middle of August, but we hit that point at the end of June,” she said. “I was absolutely blown away when I walked into the food pantry and the shelves were just unbelievably bare. That kind of put us into a tailspin.”

Foster said 2012 has been a record-setting year in terms of the numbers of families seeking assistance from the Wesley House. The organization has served 2,934 families this year through the end of June, up from 2,379 families in the same time period last year, she said. Of those families, 206 were new to the Wesley House this year, up from 145 new families last year, she said.

“We’re continuing to see a lot more new families than we have in previous years, families that have never needed assistance before,” she said. “I think the bad economy has held on for so long that if families had anything in reserve, it’s gone.”

Several organizations depend each year on an allocation from the Emergency Food and Shelter Program, offered through the Federal Emergency Management Agency, to help stock their shelves. But as Congress chips away at the federal budget, the amount of money available locally from FEMA has dwindled.

“We’re having to purchase a lot more food out of our budget” because supplemental funding is less available, said Belle Lown, director of Crosslines of Carthage. “If the community steps up and does what they can, they can help alleviate some of that pressure on the food pantries to have to purchase some of the food out of their operating budget.”

Lown said Crosslines, which serves between 180 and 200 Carthage families per month on average, also experiences an increase in clients during the summer.

“Each day, we’re seeing people who haven’t been here for months,” she said.

The food pantry has a particular need for pastas, meats, staples such as flour, sugar, dry beans, rice and fruit, she said.

Mary Finney, of Crosslines in Neosho, said the food pantry she manages is in need of all types of donations, particularly canned and boxed foods, cereal and peanut butter.

“I’m sorry, but I don’t have enough to go around,” said Finney, whose clientele is primarily elderly residents. “I wish I could say that I do, but I don’t. We need food. We need groceries.”

To donate

Crosslines of Joplin: 131 S. High Ave., 417-782-8384.

Crosslines of Carthage: 600 E. Sixth St., 417-358-1577.

Crosslines of Neosho: 308 E. Spring St., 417-451-0157.

Wesley House of Pittsburg: 411 E. 12th St., 620-232-3760.

1
Text Only
Local News
  • Embezzler from Joplin car dealerships sent to prison

    A federal judge has sentenced Kathryn M. Stayton to 13 months in prison for embezzling more than $100,000 from Frank Fletcher Ford and Credit Cars of Joplin. U.S. District Judge Greg Kays assessed the 36-year-old Joplin woman the prison term at a sentencing hearing this week in federal court in Springfield. The judge also ordered the former controller at both car dealerships to pay restitution totaling $121,249. 51.

    April 18, 2014

  • Screening of MSSU presidential applicants to wrap by end of April

    The Board of Governors at Missouri Southern State University could be in a position to name a president as early as the end of June, according to a timeline presented Friday by the co-chair of the presidential search committee.

    April 18, 2014

  • Teams from Carl Junction, Diamond advance in Destination Imagination

    Student teams from Carl Junction and Diamond will be traveling to Destination Imagination finals May 20-24 in Knoxville, Tenn., after being top finishers in competition this month at Missouri Southern State University.

    April 18, 2014

  • Neosho Dogwood Tour reset, after false start

    The 53rd annual Neosho Dogwood Tour will be held from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, April 27. The event, presented by the Neosho Rotary Club and the Neosho Area Chamber of Commerce, originally was scheduled for Sunday, April 13.

    April 18, 2014

  • r041814capbus4.jpg Funding shortfall could hinder public transportation in Southeast Kansas

    For the past two years, Pittsburg State University sophomore Travis Cook has been using public transportation to get to and from his classes. He began using the bus his freshman year, when he didn’t have a vehicle to drive even to the grocery store — which is said to be the case for many who use the service.

    April 18, 2014 2 Photos

  • Bruner denied change of venue for murder trial

    Circuit Judge Gayle Crane has denied a change of venue for a defendant charged with fatally shooting an assistant football coach at Missouri Southern State University. The attorney for Jeffrey Bruner claimed pretrial publicity as the reason for seeking a change of venue in Jasper County Circuit Court.

    April 18, 2014

  • Russell family sues city, Joplin police

    Family members of a teenage girl whose suicide a year ago brought them into conflict with police officers and emergency medical technicians are suing the city and the Joplin Police Department. Kevin and Julissa Russell and their son, Brant Russell, are the plaintiffs in a lawsuit filed in Jasper County Circuit Court. The action filed on the Russells’ behalf by Kansas City attorney Andrew Protzman names the city, the Police Department and Officers Austin Wolf and Tyler Christensen as defendants.

    April 18, 2014

  • Kansas Regents stick with social media policy

    After directing a committee to study a controversial social media policy and make recommended changes, the Kansas Board of Regents appears to not be changing the policy at all. It’s left some in academia baffled by why it appointed the work group in the first place.

    April 18, 2014

  • Pittsburg Farmer's Market to open in new building, new location

    The official market season in Pittsburg, Kan., will kick off in the market’s new pavilion-style building at a new address, 11th and Broadway, on Saturday at 7:30 a.m. Market hours will continue throughout the season on Saturdays from 7:30 a.m. to noon, with some Wednesdays or other special days throughout the season as announced.

    April 18, 2014

  • 041714 School safe rooms4_72.jpg Joplin school district readies community safe rooms for storm season

    Thousands of Joplin residents will soon be able to stay safe during storms in some of the region’s newest shelters. Community safe rooms at Cecil Floyd, Stapleton, McKinley and Eastmorland elementary schools, which double as gymnasiums, and Junge Field, which will double as a field house, are expected to be open within the next few weeks, according to Mike Johnson, the school district’s director of construction.

    April 17, 2014 2 Photos

Must Read
Sports
Photos


Facebook
Poll

A Missouri Senate committee has endorsed a 1-cent sales tax increase to fund transportation projects. The proposed constitutional amendment passed the House earlier this month. If passed by the full Senate, the measure would head to the November ballot for voter approval. Would you vote in favor of it?

Yes.
No.
     View Results
Opinion
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter