Food pantries: Busiest summer in years
PADUCAH, Ky. - Lisa Dickerson walked into Paducah Cooperative Ministry Thursday morning for some help.
The mother of three admitted, "I'm one of those that really need it right now. I'm so happy to be here and have them help me out."
But Dickerson soon noticed there was not much to get.
PCM Director Heidi Suhrheinrich says this has been the toughest summer in years. She says funds do not last long and neither does food. But, she says, it is not the number of donations that has changed, recently, it is the number of clients.
"We started noticing in May and June we were getting those really high numbers. So, the last 3 months have just been huge, particularly the month of July. It has just knocked our socks off," she said of the need.
In fact during the month of July, PCM distributed 634 bags filled with food. In July 2012, 332 bags were distributed.
Suhrheinrich says she expects those distribution numbers to drop in the weeks ahead when kids return to school.
"Food prices have gone up, gas prices have gone up, so everybody's struggling a little anyway. But the burden of summer and kids being out makes it worse," she said.
Dickerson knows about that burden. With 3 kids that usually eat breakfast and lunch at school she says she is preparing an extra 30 meals each week.
"You have to plan out your meals so carefully," she said, adding she coupons when she can. She says she was grateful for what she received Thursday, "You're lucky to come to places like PCM and receive the extras you don't have."
Paducah Cooperative Ministry says no one has been turned away this summer. But, Suhrheinrich says the amounts distributed have gotten smaller. She says the pantry is in need of core items including peanut butter and macaroni and cheese.