Salvation Army pantry needs donations

Tuesday, November 5, 2013
Tine Rodgers, a case worker at the Salvation Army in Cape Girardeau, looks over usually full shelves inside the food pantry, Monday, Nov. 4, 2013. A higher demand for the food pantry has depleted their food pantry. (Laura Simon)

The shelves at the Salvation Army's food pantry are nearly bare and supplies are needed.

The organization distributes an average of 450 to 515 food boxes a month for families ranging in size from an individual to 10 or 12, give or take, Capt. Ronnie Amick said. In September, the Salvation Army gave out 586 boxes.

Right now, demand is outstripping supply, Amick said.

"Anytime something is coming in, it's going out the back door," said Amick, who has been on the job since July.

"It just crept up on us," Amick said of the current situation. "All of a sudden we noticed we were really short on food."

A box usually contains enough to make meals for anywhere from two to three days, depending on the size of the family, Amick said. The boxes typically contain pasta, macaroni and cheese, usually tomato sauce, sometimes bread, peanut butter and jelly, sometimes lunch meat, pastries and vegetables, he said.

"Right now, it's slim pickings. The shelves are completely empty for the most part. We have a lot of tomato product and a lot of green beans," Amick said.

Salvation Army youth director Mike Bowers said late September to early November is when the organization is at its lowest on food. Local Boy Scouts conduct a food drive with part of the items going to the Salvation Army, and Wehrenberg Theatres holds a canned film festival Dec. 7 where customers can be admitted to a movie for a canned good, he said.

The amount of food from the Boy Scout drive varies and can hopefully last for a month, but the canned film festival usually brings in a lot of items, most of which are used for Christmas baskets. If there's any left over, it's used for other needs, Bowers said.

Right now, Bowers said the Salvation Army is appealing for soups, stews, ravioli, "things ready to eat."

Food is distributed from 9 a.m. to noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday, he said.

The Southeast Missouri Food Bank serves 16 counties and 180 agencies, of which the Salvation Army is one. Karen Green, director of the food bank, said everyone is feeling the pinch and there aren't many food drives going on. Anthony Boren, director of quality assurance at the food bank, said the agency is expecting to give out "a little under" 7.9 million pounds of food this year in Southeast Missouri, up from 6.2 million pounds for 2012.

"So we're looking to beat that by quite a bit this year," Boren said.

Green said about 60 percent of the food the food bank distributes has no fee associated with it. If a product comes through from Chicago, Minnesota or California, for example, "we have the ability to ask for up to 19 cents a pound" for certain products and 10 cents a pound if the food bank delivers it.

Food is not given to any agency unless that agency is giving it away or feeding people for free, Green said.

The Salvation Army will also host a Thanksgiving meal from noon to 2 p.m. on Thanksgiving; deliveries will be made from 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. that day.

"We live in a great community," Bowers said. "We'll fill the need that we have. We'll be able to give out the Christmas baskets and do the Thanksgiving meal."

If anyone would like to donate food items, the Salvation Army, 701 Good Hope St., is open from 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. If those hours don't work, Bowers said, call 335-7000 and a time can be arranged.

United Way of Southeast Missouri also has sent out an email and put a message on its Facebook page urging people to donate food to the Salvation Army.

rcampbell@semissourian.com

388-3639

Pertinent address:

701 Good Hope St., Cape Girardeau, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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