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Food banks hungry for donations

July 05, 2011|By DAN DEARTH |
  • Bob Jones, a Saint Marks Lutheran Church member and St. Marks Food Bank volunteer, fills a bag for a client.
By Joe Crocetta, Staff Photographer

HAGERSTOWN — The directors of several area food banks say they are having trouble keeping their shelves stocked with food this summer.

Beth Stouffer, director of St. Mark’s Food Bank at 601 Washington Ave. in Hagerstown, said St. Mark’s needs just about everything.

“It’s in very bad condition” she said. “All of the freezers are just empty. We are out of meat.”

Stouffer said St. Mark’s situation became dire last month, when the food bank ran low on supplies after feeding 285 needy families. To make matters worse, she said churches and grocery stores that typically donate food stopped doing it.

“I just don’t think they have the money to do that,” Stouffer said. “I think this has been the worst month in a long time.”

Lynn Jackson, director of operations for Food Resources Inc. at 220 McRand Court, said his organization helps provide food for 25 Washington County food pantries, including St. Mark’s.

He said donations usually spike around Thanksgiving and Christmas, while supplies are at their lowest this time of year.

“It’s basically due to the fact that nobody thinks people need food during the summer,” he said.

Food Resources has to use money from its budget to buy food items that aren’t donated, which puts a strain on the organization’s bottom line, Jackson said. They can always used boxed foods, such as instant potatoes, Hamburger Helper, and macaroni and cheese.

“You can never get enough,” he said.

David Jordan, executive director of Washington County Community Action Council at 101 Summit Ave. in Hagerstown, said CAC’s food pantry was in pretty good shape after it recently received a large donation, but that could change after the food is distributed to the needy.

Jordan said he was anxious that some state and federal funding that the pantry uses to buy food might not come through.

“I’m concerned what the future will bring,” said Jordan, who added that CAC serves about 200 households a month.

Jordan said CAC gets some of its food from Food Resources. CAC doesn’t have to pay Food Resources a fee if the food was obtained through the government, Jordan said. But CAC has to pay a marginal fee if Food Resources obtained the food through donations.

CAC buys a lot of its eggs, bread and milk from the Save-A-Lot grocery store on Maryland Avenue near Hagerstown because the prices are reasonable, Jordan said. It also receives food from Chipotle, Starbucks and Bob Evans.

Jordan said that in addition to food, CAC accepts toilet paper, laundry detergent and other items that people can’t buy with food stamps.

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