DOBSON — Foothills Food Pantry normally is concerned with having non-perishable items on hand to serve its clients. But these days, another commodity is being sought: Ensure.
“It is a special case and there is a medical need for this product,” Beverly Jones, the pantry’s coordinator, said Friday of Ensure, a type of health and nutrition drink.
The situation involves a woman in the Dobson area who was involved in an accident in May that caused severe burns. “She is still trying to recover,” Jones said.
While the woman’s injuries have posed a major ordeal, including leaving her badly scarred, a digestive problem also resulted. It has left her unable to keep down solid food.
“I am a skinny woman, but I look like a fat woman next to her,” Jones said. “She is nothing but a bag of bones.”
To help her gain weight, the accident victim has been told to use Ensure, which serves as a dietary supplement for persons recovering from illness or injury and experiencing involuntary weight loss.
“Her doctor has recommended that to help her recover, she drink six bottles of Ensure once a day,” the food pantry official continued.
The problem is, a six-pack of Ensure costs between $6 and $7, according to Jones. This represents a significant expense for the woman who is in her 60s and lives on a fixed income, her monthly Social Security check.
“That’s 20 percent of the family’s entire monthly income,” Jones said. “House brands” of similar drinks at stores such as Walmart are almost as expensive, she said.
The food pantry coordinator learned of the accident victim’s plight after the woman went to the Surry County Department of Social Services seeking some type of assistance to obtain Ensure. That department referred her to the food pantry, which is at a loss to meet the unique nutritional need.
“First of all, I hardly ever get it here,” Jones said of Ensure.
The coordinator believes she had no choice but to issue a public appeal. The pantry is seeking either donations of Ensure or its equivalent — or monetary contributions to supply the drink — until the accident victim is sufficiently recovered.
Donations can be mailed to Foothills Food Pantry, P.O. Box 1065, Dobson, NC 27017. They also can be taken to the pantry at 233 Cooper St. in Dobson, which is open on Mondays from 2 to 7 p.m. and Tuesday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“We are in urgent need,” Jones said.
Reach Tom Joyce at 719-1924 or firstname.lastname@example.org.