Layoffs spur increased traffic at local food pantry

Number of those needing help with food has doubled, organizers of Allen County Community Pantry say.

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April 2, 2020 - 10:07 AM

Food pantry volunteers Tom Waters, Jeri Waters, Donna Kaehr and Kenyon Kaehr organize products. Photo by Trevor Hoag / Iola Register

Business at the local food pantry “is starting to pick up,” said worker Jeri Waters.

That’s not a good thing.

The number of families coming for food has about doubled, she said. 

“We usually have about 10 families each day. Now we’re seeing 20 or so.”

The Allen County Community Pantry, at the corner of Broadway and Washington, has changed how it prepares food for participants because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Workers now have boxes of food ready for the taking so that participants do not come into the facility’s pantry to select food items. 

Items include fresh and canned fruits and vegetables, four kinds of meat, breads, cereal, peanut butter and canned tuna fish.

Waters said, “If careful, it’s enough to get a small family by for a week.”

Prior to the pandemic the pantry typically limited distributions per family to every three months with “emergency boxes” provided to help “tide people over.”

“That’s all out the window now,” she said, noting the hard times of the day. 

Waters expects the pantry to begin running low on meat and other crucial staples.

The pantry has also changed its hours. It’s now open 5-7 p.m. on Tuesdays and 9-11 a.m. on Thursdays. 

To best help, gifts of money are appreciated. 

To reach Waters call 620-228-0246, or her husband, Tom, at 620-228-8694.

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