A perpetual time of need in Tonganoxie
The Good Shepherd Thrift Store and Food Bank helps families in need in both Leavenworth and Jefferson counties.
That assistance continues because of the community’s purchasing of donated goods in the thrift store and food items for the pantry.
During the holidays, the pantry shelves are full and plentiful.
“Thanks to generosity right now, we’re pretty well-stocked, said Janet Stuke, food bank coordinator for Good Shepherd. “In November and December, people are in that giving mode.”
It’s after the holiday rush that sometimes those pantry items become more sparse. Stuke said once the calendar starts to turn to February, Good Shepherd is more in need of items.
“Hungry people are hungry every day,” Stuke said. “Not just before Christmas and not just certain times.”
Stuke stressed that the community is “so supportive,” noting that organizations step up to help keep the pantry stocked.
Mayor Jason Ward challenges local elementary school students to a canned food drive, with the class collecting the most cans getting a pizza party courtesy of Ward. This year, Tiffany Parker’s kindergarten class collected more than 800 cans as the winning class.
The McLouth and Tonganoxie United Methodist churches have done a Souper Bowl Challenge in some capacity the last several years. Particulars of this year’s challenge are being worked out, but Tonganoxie UMC officials have said there will be a drive in some capacity in the coming weeks.
Those are two of the larger drives that benefit Good Shepherd, along with the U.S. Postal Service’s canned food drive that usually falls around Mother’s Day, Stuke said.
Plus, the pantry is able to provide more meat to families thanks to local hunters who donate meat, as well as assistance from Steve’s Signature Sausage in Basehor and an organization of farmers and ranchers that helps in getting donated game to those in need.
Stuke said that has been a big help in providing food to families. The pantry also uses monetary donations to purchase meat and other goods, while some local families who own chickens have donated surplus eggs.
If residents want to donate any items this month, canned beans, such as chili beans, garbanzo beans and pork and beans are in low supply, as are peanut butter, jelly and soup crackers
“Right now, we have no bread,” Stuke said. “That would be another wonderful donation.”
The pantry has considerable storage space at its newest home at 423 E. Fourth St., so anyone wanting to donate ground turkey, hot dogs or other meats are welcome to do so.
And, of course, monetary donations allow the organization to purchase items they need.
Good Shepherd is open 9 a.m.-2 p.m. every day but Thursdays and Sundays.
Families wishing to visit for food and other assistance can stop by from 9-11 a.m. when the store is opened.
Stuke said Good Shepherd serves about 60 families between Leavenworth and Jefferson counties. That number stays fairly steady, but there’s a rotation of about 10-15 new families each month.
In addition to the various donation opportunities, time is also a welcome commodity.
Stuke said the store is sometimes thin on thrift store volunteers on Saturdays.
For more information about the thrift store and food bank, call 913-845-3964.