By CRISTIN REECE
“Everyone’s heard the stories of people having to choose between food and their medicine,” said Ken Brewer, director of the Court Drive Church of Christ’s Community Food Pantry. “That’s the reality for some families in Palestine.”
Brewer said the need for food always increases during the summertime, but this summer seems to be hitting some people harder.
“We served 245 families last week,” he said. “And 12 of them were new families. We average usually 210.
“We’re also seeing bigger families, because some of them have had to move in together just to make it. It’s just heartbreaking to see so many people struggling,” he said. “Donations are always needed and appreciated and we do accept fresh vegetables from home gardens as well.”
The Food Pantry provides food enough for 14 to 15 days to each family, but volunteers from the church do more than just provide food.
“Every family we serve gets interviewed during our process,” Brewer said. “So many are hurting bad. They want to talk and need some one to listen. All our volunteers are really great at that. It’s just heartbreaking to see so many people having such a hard time.”
As a service to those who come to the food bank, volunteers can also help people fill out applications for food stamps.
“We also try to provide box fans to those who need them, but we haven’t received any donations so far this year,” Brewer said. “All our local retailers and businesses have always been extremely generous in the past, and we don’t want to tap all of our resources out so quickly. Hopefully, the rest of the community can step up, if their situations allow them to.”
The food pantry is open every other Thursday from 9 to 11 a.m. to distribute food. Extended business hours are Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday from 1 to 3 p.m. every week.
Donations of nonperishable food items, canned goods and home-grown vegetables can be dropped off at the church, 1434 Court Drive in Palestine, during regular business hours or call the church, 903-729-0196, to make monetary donations.
St. Vincent’s Catholic Church and the First Resource Center also operate food pantries serving Anderson County.