The shelves are now a little fuller at the Clark County Community Services food pantry, thanks to local donors.
“We’re doing better,” Judy Crowe, director of Clark County Community Services, said. “We’re just grateful to everyone who gives us donations.”
Changes in The Emergency Food Assistance Program have left distributor God’s Pantry with little or nothing to give local food banks like the one operated by Community Services. Typically, the Lexington-based distributor provides Community Services with vegetables and other staple items to fill food baskets, but a sharp drop-off in recent months has forced Community Services to buy food at grocery stores, paying retail price.
According to a statement from God’s Pantry released earlier this month, the organization had received 18 loads of government commodities since April, an all-time low.
This week, God’s Pantry was able to distribute commodity carrots and orange juice, and Crowe is hopeful it is a sign that more food is on the way. If food orders are honored, Community Services can expect 11 commodity loads in October, but there are no guarantees.
When community members learned of the agency’s struggles, both food and monetary donations began coming in, Crowe said.
So far, the Community Services has spent $6,000 on food at local grocery stores, something that would not have been possible without monetary donations.
“I thought it was high last month, but it’s even higher this month,” Crowe said of the agency’s grocery bill.
With an average of about $1,500 being spent per week, Crowe said there is no way the food pantry could be sustained without assistance.
“Enough donations came in to cover our expenses this month, and there’s food on our shelves,” Crowe said.
Typically, Crowe said, Community Services has about eight different commodity items to offer clients.
God’s Pantry is Community Services’ only source of food, other than donations and items purchased.
Several organizations have started food drives. Donations can be made at the Winchester campus of Bluegrass Community and Technical College, and food barrels will be out at the Scarecrow Festival Oct. 13 at Beech Springs Market.
“At this point, we don’t care if they (the public) do the shopping, or we do it,” Crowe said.
Needed items include spaghetti and spaghetti sauce, peanut butter and jelly and canned soups and stews.
Crowe said she wants to provide clients with complete meals, and items that don’t require a lot of preparation for people who may rely on microwaves for cooking.
“It’s definitely better, but we’re not home free until we get our commodities,”¿Crowe said.
For more information on Community Services, visit www.clarkcountycommunityservices.org.