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Food pantry clients have doubled, contributions dwindled

By Terri Richardson Marshall News Messenger
Nov. 12, 2010 at 2:17 a.m.


The United Churches of Marshall Food Pantry has had far more food recipients than donations, a situation aggravated by low supplies for purchase and distribution by its partners at the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler.

The pantry has also seen a 100 percent increase in clients, which volunteers attribute to the ongoing economic decline.

"We feed people who come in needing food, and with the economy being what it is, we have had a tremendous number of clients and families coming in," reported Sharee Stevens for the pantry. "We've also been having problems getting our food from the bank in Tyler."

While the Marshall Food Pantry does distribute canned food donations, it also purchases food for distribution and gets good rates by buying through the Tyler food bank. Many basic food items are routinely purchased in bulk with the pantry spending $1,000 a week through Abraham's Food Town. But the pantry has been forced to buy other items at full retail price recently from Save-A-Lot, which has racked up $1,000 every other week since the food crisis began, she said.

"We had to buy quite a bit of extra food from Save-A-Lot. They've had a problem getting a lot of things and told me our big purchases were an issue for their stock," said Ms. Stevens. "Our food offerings run low before the week is out sometimes, and our finances have gotten very, very low."

Items the United Churches of Marshall Food Pantry is running low or out of are:

Canned vegetables

Canned meats

Cereal

Peanut butter

Milk (or powdered)

"Right now, we could use money as well as canned goods," Ms. Stevens said. "And we can always use volunteers. We need some churches to get involved because our volunteers are mostly elderly and with the numbers we have had" help is needed.

She reported that where the pantry once helped 10 to 15 families per day, they are now assisting 30 or 40 a day.

Donations of food or finances may be delivered to the pantry at 1709 Bomar St., and financial contributions may also be made to United Churches of Marshall Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1601, Marshall, TX 75671. For more information call 903-938-4468.

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