Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Food pantries rely on community to help needy

By VICKIE MOSS, Herald Public Affairs Editor | 11/11/2009

More people need help, the coordinator of Ottawa’s Christian-based food pantry said.

Compared to last year, hundreds more people have sought help from Hope House, the food pantry sponsored by the Ottawa Ministerial Alliance.

More people need help, the coordinator of Ottawa’s Christian-based food pantry said.

Compared to last year, hundreds more people have sought help from Hope House, the food pantry sponsored by the Ottawa Ministerial Alliance.

But Mary Lois Yates, coordinator of Hope House, 302 S. Walnut St., said she hopes the community will respond to the increased need as they did last year.

A request for donations to the food pantry brought a flood of items, stocking shelves for about four months, Yates said.

“I’m really not sure how it’s going to be this year,” Yates said. “I am kind of concerned. There’s just a limit on how much people can give.”

In 2008, Hope House provided assistance to 2,054 households. That included 2,797 children and 3,819 adults. The center also helped 66 senior citizens.

Those numbers were up in 2009 — and winter and the holidays still are ahead.

Hope House so far has provided assistance to 2,205 households, including 3,395 children, 4,121 adults and 74 senior citizens.

Hope House last year began restricting the amount of rent or utility assistance it could provide to needy families. The center can provide a one-time loan of up to $150 for either rent or utilities, Yates said. But, often, people come in asking for much more than that, and they have nowhere else to turn, Yates said.

“There’s just not that many resources,” Yates said.

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