BROOKINGS – More local families than ever before sought help from the Brookings County Food Pantry this July, director Amy Lacek said.
“This July we hit a record number of families that we have seen – we hit about 150 families, which we have never done before in a month,” Lacek said. “We usually average from 60-80.”
The number of families served by the pantry seems to have “taken a little bit of a jump” over the last year, Lacek said.
The pantry provides about two weeks’ worth of food, and families are allowed to visit once per quarter if they continue to be in need. To last two weeks, a single person receives a minimum of $20-$30 worth of food and large families can receive up to $400 worth of food, Lacek said.
The pantry serves families living in Brookings County; each adult in the household must present proof of residency.
Its mission is to serve families who find themselves in an emergency situation, such as being displaced by a house fire or losing a job. But Lacek said a lot of families have been repeat customers lately, returning the allowed four times per year for several years. She said the pantry needs to re-examine whether its current policies are in line with its mission to serve those in emergency situations.
Interestingly, July is a month when the pantry usually receives few donations. Lacek said that’s probably due to many families spending money on back-to-school items in July and not having as much to give elsewhere. August is a good month to get donations rolling again as fall and winter approach, she said.
The Brookings County Food Pantry’s “Top 10” list of needed items for August includes: Cereal, beef stew, canned peas, creamed corn, canned fruit, spaghetti sauce, peanut butter, canned soup, diced tomatoes and elbow or egg noodles.
“We take almost everything; we do take frozen items as well, we just ask that you let us know when you’re bringing them so we can get them in the freezer right away,” Lacek said.
The pantry also appreciates receiving fresh produce; Lacek said garden items are popular with families receiving food from the pantry.
As fall and winter approach, hearty, warming foods like stews are especially appreciated, she added.
The pantry is open Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 1-4:30 p.m. It will be closed this Monday for Labor Day, and on other national holidays.
For more information, visit www.brookingscountyfoodpantry.org or call 692-5007. The pantry is located at 217 Fourth Street in Brookings.
Contact Charis Prunty at firstname.lastname@example.org.