Drive helps restock depleted food pantry
The De Soto Multi-Service Center received about 100 pounds of food Monday from the Johnson County Feed the Need drive.
Although it isn't much, Jodi Hitchcock, director of the Multi-Service Center, said she isn't worried because the center also will receive about $6,000 to purchase more supplies for the food pantry.
Right now, the pantry is depleted. Hitchcock said there is very little to feed the more than 40 families who visit the pantry each month for their food supplies.
However, De Soto isn't the only place where there is a food shortage.
"Everyone has said how depleted their stocks are," Hitchcock said. "It's all over Johnson County. We are all struggling to keep food on our shelves."
Pantries often need more help in summer, Hitchcock said. Children are no longer in school, she said, so those families who were eligible for free or reduced lunches and breakfasts at school are now faced with the burden of feeding the children twice more each day.
Student-organized food drives also help during the school year. Schools and organizations sponsor major food drives that bring in lots of supplies, but the supplies don't last forever.
"The schools have food drives for us in the fall. and they fill this whole place with food," volunteer Francis Lawhead said as she unpacked the food brought in from Feed the Need. "You wouldn't have ever thought that we'd get rid of all the food and it would be gone."
Lawhead unpacked the food with Ellen Spivey, another volunteer. Lawhead's grandson Matt Woywod, 18, drove a truck out to Olathe with Hitchcock earlier that morning to pick up the food.
The Feed the Need food drive is an annual campaign that assists local food pantries. This year's food drive goal was 125 tons of food, collected both in food and money. Each dollar is equivalent to about four pounds of food. Last year, the drive brought in a record 144 tons of food with a goal set at 120 tons.
Johnson County Election Commissioner Brian Newby was the chairman of the Feed the Need drive. He said the county didn't bring as much food as expected this year because the golf tournament was rained out. He did not have any official numbers on how much the drive collected as of Tuesday morning.