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County food bank sees more families in need

Staff writer

Volunteers at Marion County Food Bank have encountered more Marion County families in need of assistance in recent months, coordinator Janet Bryant said.

Bryant worries about the increasing number of people who are repeat clients, and many have lost jobs, she said.

“Right now, it’s just the economy,” Bryant said. “Last week we helped 11 families.”

A Scouting for Food drive Oct. 3 helped restock shelves of the food bank, located at Valley United Methodist Church in Marion.

Fall and early winter are peak seasons for donations. Bryant credits generosity surrounding Thanksgiving and Christmas.

Summer is a difficult time for the food bank. More people need meals, because children do not receive school lunches. At the same time, donations decrease because hunger isn’t on most people’s minds.

She doesn’t expect the economy to turn around overnight, but she hopes things will stop getting worse.

“I think it will be a while before it gets better,” Bryant said. “If everybody does a little bit, it keeps us going.”

Deer hunters have a unique opportunity to help the food bank. Some butchers will process venison bound for a food bank either for free or at a discounted price, she said.

Clients are referred to the food bank, usually by local ministers. A referral form includes the number of family members and the number of days’ worth of food needed. Recipients also can receive a $25 grocery voucher for perishable foods.

Volunteers operate the food bank 9 a.m. to noon Mondays and Thursdays. Other times can be scheduled by calling Bryant at (620) 382-2942 or (620) 382-3418.

Marion Church Women United sponsors the Marion County Food Bank. The organization founded the food bank in 1985. Other food banks have formed since 1985, but Marion County Food Bank hasn’t changed its service area.

“We help people from all around the county,” Bryant said.

Last modified Oct. 15, 2009

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