Food Bank Nears Crisis: Demand Outweighing Supply
By Jami Brinton, Reporter
Poor economic conditions have forced dozens of Johnson County families to find help... just to put food on the table.
Right now, the food bank is feeding about 180-200 families per day. That's about 55 more families each day than they were assisting a year ago.
In any given year, the Johnson County food bank spends about 60-thousand dollars on food for families in need.
But this year, they're only three months into their fiscal budget, and have spent nearly 50 percent of that money.
It's a simple lesson in economics: supply versus demand.
More people in Johnson County are demanding food because of the flood or an economic downturn.
Now, the Crisis Center is nearing a crisis of its own.
"There could be a point if we don't have enough money to give the recommended food levels, then we may have to cut back a bit," said Becci Reedus, executive director of the Johnson County Crisis Center.
A worst case scenario of having to cut back food for families in need, could become a reality for the center.
"We can spread money really efficiently when it comes to food, it's just that it's going off our selves really fast," said Sarah Benson Wintry, director of the Johnson County food bank.
This as hundreds of families in search of food to survive are straining their already depleted food supply.
"Just a lot of difficulty trying to make ends meet both with the economy and the other side is the floods, " said Reedus.
"We hear lots of stories about people who are working jobs full-time jobs but they have kids and they are just not making it," said Benson Wintry.
These stories are becoming the norm, not the exception.
Benson Wintry says of those asking for help "They feel like there is some secret to help them get through this, but there isn't."
Food bank shelves are already bare.
No soup. No pasta. And they're running out of vegetables, too.
And the food bank isn't sure this problem will get any better.
"We kinda just sit back and hope...we send out the right letter to everyone that they do what they can and help us get through this crisis," said Reedus.
The crisis center says unless they can get access to additional resources soon, they are going to be facing some serious problems.
Here are a list of items of which the crisis center is most in need: money, diapers, hearty soups and stews, canned soup, meat and fruit, peanut butter, jelly and jam, rice, pasta, and toilet paper.
Persons wishing to help can call the Johnson County Crisis Center at 319-351-2726.