Local food pantries call for more, different items

Sunday, December 21, 2008
KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com
Ginny Wene fills a two-person order Thursday morning at FISH Volunteers of Cape Girardeau. FISH is an emergency assistance food program.

Even after a successful canned food drive at Cape West 14 Cine and the annual Scouting for Food event, food pantries can hardly keep up with the need in Cape Girardeau and Bollinger counties and Scott City, said Denise Wimp, executive director with First Call for Help.

First Call for Help is the resource and referral service for people needing help in five counties, including Cape Girardeau, Perry, Bollinger, Stoddard and Scott counties.

"I call the food pantries regularly and most of them have been saying they have more people coming in everyday but not necessarily more food," Wimp said.

FISH food pantry volunteer Mary Fox of Cape Girardeau said they are set up for emergencies and that when people call in they are asked to describe their situation and how many they need food for. Orders are made up according to household size and filled with nutritional needs in mind. Social Security cards for each person in the household are necessary for eligibility.

"Right now the nature of the problem is that people are out of work," Fox said.

KIT DOYLE ~ kdoyle@semissourian.com
Rita Fischer uses a guide to remember how much food to use in a two-person order Thursday morning at FISH Volunteers of Cape Girardeau. Fischer has volunteered with FISH for five years.

Even when food pantry shelves are stocked, Wimp said there is another problem.

"Traditionally, people think of canned food as veggies, but there are other canned items that actually make a meal," Wimp said. "If people wanting to help could think in terms of meals like canned spaghetti, any canned pasta meal, macaroni and cheese, canned chili, soups and stews and canned meat, that would be great for families. It's very hard to feed a family with just veggies but these other items along with the veggies make a meal."

If you've already donated food or if you want to help more, the Salvation Army needs help stocking donated items on shelves. Starting Monday, Dec. 22, efforts will switch gears and focus on filling Christmas food baskets made available to community members who signed up. To volunteer, call 335-7000.

The United Way suggested volunteering with local youth programs that normally rely on college students through the year, but find themselves short-staffed on the breaks when students go home. Contact the Cape Area Family Resource Center (334-8170) or the Volunteer Intergenerational Center online at www.vicrsvp.org or at 335-7555 for opportunities.

Food donation drop offs

* Catholic Social Ministries

119 S. Spanish, Cape Girardeau

Serves all Cape Girardeau County residents

335-9347, casocmin@showme.net

* FISH Volunteers of Cape Girardeau

106 South Sprigg, Cape Girardeau

334-0207

* House of Hope

1000 Ranney Ave., Cape Girardeau

335-4858

Jackson Food Pantry

212 South High, Jackson

243-8415

* Marble Hill Food Pantry

301 West Main, Marble Hill

238-2201

* Red Star Baptist Church

1301 N. Main, Cape Girardeau

335-3381

* Scott City Ministerial Alliance

802 Main St., Scott City

264-2365, rmorse57@yahoo.com

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