Pantry in need of food

Food is low at Gainesville Community Ministry


Published: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 2:46 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, September 18, 2013 at 2:46 p.m.

Donations of non-perishable food items are urgently needed at the Gainesville Community Ministry Food Pantry so it can continue to provide food for those who are struggling to keep food on the table.

Facts

FOOD PANTRY

* What: The Gainesville Community Ministry is in urgent need of non-perishable food items.

* When: 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday or 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday.

* Where: Main site at 238 SW 4th Ave. or Thrift Shop at 5001 NW 34th St.

* Information: call 352-372-8162.

"We're at a very low level of food," said Michael Wright, executive director of Gainesville Community Ministry. "We're down to the bare bones."

He said the food pantry is in dire need of donations.

During summer months, Wright said donations drop off but demand increases because school is out and children are eating more meals at home. He said donations traditionally start picking up in late September or early October, but 150-200 people are helped daily. Last year, 20,000 people came through Gainesville Community Ministry, with the majority coming for food.

"We're getting a trickle (of food donations) and we're worried we will run out of food," Wright said.

Wright said any type of non-perishable food is needed, including canned meats and tuna, vegetables, fruit, rice, cereal, peanut butter and other items. Donations can be dropped off from 9 a.m.-2 p.m. Monday-Thursday at Gainesville Community Ministry at 238 SW 4th Ave. or from 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday-Saturday at the Thrift Shop at 5001 NW 34th St.

Those seeking help from the food pantry must apply in person from 9 a.m.-2:30 p.m. Monday-Thursday at the agency.

Wright said the food pantry helps the elderly, disabled, people who are on or below the poverty level and those working in low-paying jobs whose income can't keep up with their expenses.

"We handle a variety of situations and sometimes it comes down to people not having money to take care of their expenses, and when they can't meet their expenses, they cut back on food," Wright said. "They can't be without a home and electricity and they need transportation to get to their jobs. Food is what they cut."

Wright said in this economy, wages are low, but the cost of living is high. He said those who qualify can apply for food stamps, but it takes time to receive them, so in the meantime, they may need help from the food pantry.

"We have donors that have become clients," said Wright, adding that these are people who donated maybe $10 a month to help others, but who now need help for a variety of reasons, such as being on a fixed income or unable to keep pace with the cost of living.

They also include the elderly with unemployed adult children and grandchildren moving into their home. "And now they need help, too," Wright said.

Wright said a two-day supply is given to each member of an eligible household every 30 days.

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