Archive for Thursday, November 30, 2000

DeSoto food drive hits home for some

November 30, 2000

For most families, the holidays are a time of happiness and thanksgiving.

However, for some, the holidays are a time to figure out where their next meal is coming from.

"Somedays after I come home from work, I come home and cry because I don't have enough money to feed my kids," said an inner-city mother of five children who prefers to remain anonymous.

She works from 10 p.m to 5 p.m. as a security guard at Kansas City's Union Station, where she makes minimum wage. Some months, she can't pay all the bills.

"Some months I have so many delinquent bills, I worry about whether or not the heat can stay on. In the summer months I don't worry about it and use fans, that way I have more money for my kids," she said.

She also said that some nights all her kids have for dinner is peanut butter crackers and a glass of water.

"I try to only make them eat like that once a week, but it depends on if the food stamps come in on time," she said.

The food stamps, which total $300 a week, are converted into cash and then spent for food. The stamps, which are supposed to come weekly, often only come twice a month.

Some Kansas City area food banks aren't doing so well either. After checking with five food pantries around the area, many are in desperate need of food for the holidays, including meats, cheeses, and non-perishable food items.

DeSoto school district was able to help. During the week of Nov. 13-17, Starside Elementary, Lexington Trails Middle School, and DeSoto High School had a food drive.

"We made it a western district food drive because only a couple of seminars were competing," said Jason Smith, who sponsors the Student Council Organization.

Smith said that due to a number of factors, such as ITED testing and lack of awareness, there would be another food drive during next week.

Each day of the week had a different theme. This year's themes were Macaroni Monday, Toiletry Tuesday, Wipe-Em Wednesday, Thanksgiving Thursday, and Free-For-All Friday.

Smith said Starside Elementary collected the most with more than 3,000 cans of food.

The food was transported to the Community Food Bank by community service classes.

The anonymous person said food drives like these make her feel good that people are willing to donate their energy.

"I wish people wouldn't wait for food drives to donate food," she said.

Janet Colson, who is a director of a church clothes closet and food bank in Kansas City said donations are welcome any time of the year.

"If we receive any items that could be used around the holidays such as chicken, turkey, and ham, we always freeze them. They never go out early unless we are in dire need," Colson said.

Colson added that when they are in need of food they sometimes receive assistance from church administration, but sometimes that can be tight as well.

"The church does as much as it can, but sometimes that isn't even enough," Colson said.

The single mother has one final plea:

"If you have any extra hats, coats, or gloves or any winter-related items, be sure to donate that to a closet or something, because I know some families aren't even fortunate enough to have those things," She said.

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