Local Pantry Directors: Don't Forget Local Need

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Think about how hard the fallout from Hurricane Katrina is every time you fill up at the gas station.
The pain at the pump is a lot harder for people who are less fortunate.

"They're having to make choices betwen buying gas to go to their jobs or buying food," said Captain Ruth Gibbons of the Salvation Army.

The supply at their food pantries is getting lean. It's not that people aren't generous, they're just not making as many local donations this month.

"We estimate they're down about half. Instead, they're thinking of Hurricane Katrina, but we need to realize the need still goes on here."

The thing is, they're not seeing that problem here at the Saint Francis Food Pantry. The extent of their hurricane relief is getting food to evacuees who make their way to Eau Claire County. Directors at the Feed My People Food Bank, which distributes food to Saint Francis and other area pantries, say just because the problem isn't widespread right now, doesn't mean it won't be soon.

The group that provides food to Feed My People has shipped about 22-million pounds to the Gulf Coast, which hasn't affected them locally so far.

"Our demand has been increasing and we anticipate that it's going to increase," Director Mary Jo Hanson said.

As will probably be the case at the Salvation Army's pantry, though upcoming fall food drives aim to capitalize on a peak time of year for donations.

For now, money for emergencies is going toward filling it.

"Our general fund is getting lower," Captain Gibbons said.

"Anything you feel a person could use for food would be welcome here."

So that crisis relief in the south doesn't take away from crisis prevention in the north.

Donations at the Eau Claire Salvation Army Food Pantry are being accepted at this address:

3310 Miller Street