The food bank of Yokefellow Cooperative Ministry wasn’t as bare as Old Mother Hubbard’s cupboard Thursday, but shelves there looked relatively empty nonetheless as the facility copes with what’s described as “dangerously low” supplies.
“It’s frustrating, because you don’t have the food to feed the clients that come,” said Dixie Ratliff, program coordinator for the pantry located on Jones School Road, who hopes an upcoming drive will help.
The main reasons cited for the food shortage are seasonal in nature. First and foremost is the fact that kids are home for the summer and away from school, where they normally participate in meal programs.
This can strain a family’s resources, resulting in some children possibly getting only one or two meals a day and maybe not the healthiest food. This translates into more reliance on the food bank.
“Summers are just always rough,” Ratliff said.
Another factor is that contributions from the public which are depended on by area food banks to keep shelves stocked undergo a seasonal slump.
“People don’t think of donating during the summer,” Ratliff said, compared to the holiday season and other times.
Yet folks still come to the food pantry seeking assistance.
“The needs are increasing,” the coordinator said.
On Thursday, 23 families — representing more than 50 people — received food from the facility located at L.H. Jones Family Resource Center.
Ratliff listed “staple items” as its biggest need.
Food drive upcoming
L.H. Jones Family Resource Center and the Surry Senior Center based there are coming to the rescue through an effort aimed at helping the Yokefellow food ministry restock its shelves.
This will involve a food drive next week with a focus on canned items.
Donations from the public will be accepted Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Items can be dropped off at the reception area of L.H. Jones Family Resource Center at 215 Jones School Road.
Those suggested for donation include canned meats, such as tuna or chicken; canned fruits and vegetables; peanut butter; canned and boxed meals, such as soup, chili, stew and macaroni and cheese; canned or dried beans; pasta; rice; and cereals (low-sugar).
The food bank of Yokefellow Cooperative Ministry is open from 9 to 11:15 a.m. on Monday through Friday. Appointments aren’t needed by persons seeking assistance, who are asked to bring a picture ID and their Social Security card and undergo a screening process.
Ratliff said the food pantry serves clients throughout most of Surry County.
During 2017, the Yokefellow facility distributed 395,841 pounds of food, with a total of 10,770 people served.
The food bank has implemented new steps to better serve those in need, according to previous reports, including an emphasis on fresh produce due to its health benefits.
Yokefellow receives some produce from grocery stores and in other cases people grow various foods to contribute to the pantry. The facility also has added cold-storage capabilities in order to provide more fresh food to clients.
Tom Joyce may be reached at 336-415-4693 or on Twitter @Me_Reporter.