Archive for Wednesday, June 2, 2004

Requests for aid increase at pantry

June 2, 2004

It's summertime and the livin' is easy.

Except when the kitchen cupboards are bare.

"I know there are a lot of kids that get free or reduced lunches and breakfasts at school," said retired grade school teacher Sharon Stratton. "So I think it's a little concern now during the summer time that there is food available for them."

And, with gasoline prices being so much higher this summer, Stratton said that might be taking an even bigger bite out of a family's ability to put food on their table.

Stratton suggested area residents might be willing to donate extra food, such as peanut butter and jelly, and breakfast cereals to the local thrift shop -- to make sure children have enough to eat when school's out.

Tammie George, assistant principal at Tonganoxie Elementary School, said about 20 percent of the grade school's 815 students qualified for free and reduced lunches during the past school year. That's about 163 children.

To qualify for free school lunches, a family of four must have a monthly income of less than $1,994. And for reduced lunches, a family of four must have less than $2,837 a month.

Dorothy Korb, who co-directs the Good Shepherd Thrift Shop and Food Pantry with Lois Lee and Shirley Sheaffer, said the food bank keeps a list of items needed.

Peanut butter and jelly are usually on that list, Korb said.

Other items often requested include baby food, sugar, pancake mix and syrup, canned fruit, paper towels and toilet paper.

Although Korb said she doesn't usually see an increase in food requests in summer months, she did note that in May the shop helped 34 families by giving food donations, a jump of 10 families from the month before.

Stratton said it might be helpful if area residents would keep the area's children in mind, especially now, when the school's kitchen is closed.

"I just worry a little bit about them during the summertime," Stratton said.

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