Want to Help Others Have Happy Holidays?
With the holiday season now approaching, we think of others who may need some extra help to get through it all – with plenty and joy. There are people and processes already in place to help achieve that goal.
We’ve contacted four food banks within the areas that SKT serves and asked them to let us know how they do it, what they need, and how we might be able to help.
Perhaps you know of another operating food bank to add to the list. Let us know, and we’ll add it!
THANKS TO LYNN NORRIS OF DEXTER FOR SENDING THE FOLLOWING INFORMATION ON THE FOOD BANK AT ECCRC — LIGHTHOUSE LIBRARY:
Lighthouse Library, 107 S. Main, Dexter, KS
Lynn Pettigrew Norris, ECCRC Director
Dexter Community and Eastern Cowley County
Mission of ECCRC — Eastern Cowley County Resource Center
Dexter Community involvement — to promote volunteerism and entrepreneurship through community events and programs. Promotes literacy (reading & writing & computer skills) & provides a food bank and Commodities as well as annual Thanksgiving food boxes.
What We Do and How to Help
Dexter has sponsored a food bank at ECCRC (Lighthouse Library) for the past 15 years. We are members of the Kansas Food Bank and the Commodity program. We give out food (and receive requests) every week. The food items are purchased by ECCRC through donations, donated food items, and by private donations. Last year GE donated a van full of food items and the year before USD 471 donated a huge amount of food. A hunter from Virginia donated the deer meat from the deer he got. We gave away 18 Thanksgiving food boxes this November, complete with 15-pound turkeys and all the trimmings. We receive calls for assistance from throughout Cowley County. We delivered Thanksgiving food boxes to two individuals whose caretakers said it was their last Thanksgiving due to cancer.
We gave out 60 goody bags as part of our food bank program, which included apples, large oranges, and several small oranges in each bag — along with peanuts other goodies. Lynn shares, “It is always very difficult to pay the utilities & keep the doors open to serve our town — so any publicity shared is always a blessing.”
CLEARWATER MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE FOOD BANK
Clearwater United Methodist Church, 130 N. 1st St., Clearwater, KS
Enter through the south door by the church office.
Anyone living in the Clearwater USD 264 School District
Pick up items from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. on the first and third Mondays of every month, except major holidays (watch for notifications). Immediate needs may be met by contacting any pastor.
How to Help
Donations may be made through your local church or bring items directly to the CUMC kitchen during their office hours, which are Monday through Thursday from 8:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. and Friday from 8:00 a.m. to Noon.
- To reduce waste, carefully check the expiration dates and try not to purchase any items that are close to being expired. A big part of the volunteers’ time is spent sorting, marking, and storing the cans according to their expiration dates.
- Monetary donations are always welcome, as specific foods in short supply may be purchased as needed.
- There’s usually plenty of canned beans, peas, corn, and carrots, so consider donating the following, instead:
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Meats
- Spaghetti & Pasta
- Pasta Sauce
- Hamburger Helper & Boxed Meals
- Canned Foods such as Ravioli or Spaghettios
- Peanut Butter
- Laundry Detergent
More about the Clearwater Ministerial Alliance Food Bank
Established more than 20 years ago, the Clearwater Ministerial Alliance Food Bank is staffed by faithful volunteers, Carol & Jack Bates, Elna Fitch, and Marlene and Tom Whitaker, who collect, sort, date, store, and pack the huge amount of food that is donated and distributed. Demand is already increasing this fall. Last week, 15 bags were welcomed by families within the USD 264 school district (the only stipulation). Currently, CUMC, First Baptist Church of Clearwater, First Christian Church, and Clearwater Lions Club volunteers each take a (three-month) quarter of the year to man the Food Bank during their open hours.
Bags are packed in advance – each usually containing six cans of vegetables, two cans of fruit, two cans of soup, one to two cans of canned meat, and a boxed meal such as Hamburger Helper. “Extras,” such as laundry detergent, toothpaste, toilet paper, cereal, peanut butter, etc., are also available on an individual basis. For Thanksgiving and Christmas, there are special sacks – a ham, stuffing, bag of potatoes, gravy, jello, cake mixes, sweet potatoes, and more.
“Clearwater is a very giving, generous community,” Marlene Whitaker says, “We always seem to have what we need, when we need it – and if we don’t – we just ask the churches through the Ministerial Alliance, and it comes in.” Community food drives are wonderful, as well, in re-filling the pantry.
ELK COUNTY MINISTERIAL ALLIANCE FOOD BANK
Moline Christian Church, 404 N. Main Street, Moline, KS
Elk County Residents
How to Help
Cash is a welcome donation. There are some things that are not needed – such as small packages of hot sauces and seasonings, and unwanted bulk commodities. Be sure to check expiration dates on items before donating. Suggested donations include:
- Pancake Mix
- Canned Chicken
- Canned Goods
- Laundry Soap
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
More about the Elk County Ministerial Alliance Food Bank
Every fifth Sunday, the churches in Elk Falls, Grenola, Longton, Moline, and Howard gather together at one location for worship and members also bring donations for the Emergency Food Pantry. Subsequently, when individuals or families are in need, they can call Stan Rumbaugh or contact any of the area pastors, and help is on its way! They are invited to come to the Moline Christian Church and choose the items they need, including those from the freezer – like hamburger, bacon, hot dogs, bread, and butter.
Stan Rumbaugh says, “The people of the county donate really well for others.”
In gearing up for the holidays, the Elk County Ministerial Alliance Food Bank assists Mary Harrod in distributing Christmas Baskets of food at a Howard location on December 22. Applications for baskets are due by the end of November. The baskets contain ham, potatoes, eggs, milk, pies, cake mixes, and all the fixings for a very nice Christmas dinner.
HARVEST HOUSE FOOD PANTRY
Pastor Dave Lofton
Facebook Page: Harvest House Food Pantry
Residents of Greenwood and Elk Counties
Pick up items the second Thursday of every month from 2:30 to 5:00 p.m. New hours of 3:00-5:00 p.m. will begin in January.
How to Help
- Volunteer at the Harvest House Food Bank on distribution day
- Help complete the new ground-level facility
- Give monetary donations
More About the Harvest House Food Pantry
No applications are required, and delivery is available for those who cannot leave their homes – thus ensuring that senior citizens and those truly in need are served. Emergency assistance is available, as well, because the passion at Harvest House is to “help provide food to our neighbors in need.” This ministry serves an average of 160 families per month – with a record of providing food assistance to 175 families in one month alone. Around 18 non-paid volunteers help with the distribution – with more than 50,000 pounds of food given out each year to residents in Greenwood and Elk counties.
The Kansas Food Bank in Wichita provides most of the food, hauling in a large semi-trailer truck on most distribution days. Standard staples include frozen meats, potatoes, bread, canned foods, boxed and packaged foods, and paper products. In addition, people may choose from a variety of other items, which recently included fresh apples. The bread and some other items arrive frozen but thaw by the time they reach those in need.
The Harvest House Food Pantry is funded through grants and private donations. They are happy to receive monetary donations rather than food donations, as they can purchase items needed from the Kansas Food Bank at a great discount. Currently operating out of the basement of the church, this large food bank operation was approved in the Fall of 2014 and was open by January of 2015. They are ecstatic to report that a new, ground-level facility is being added to the church, all built by volunteers. For the finishing touches, they need a refrigerator and two freezers – somewhat already in the works. The Harvest House Food Bank is quite an accomplishment, when you consider where they started and the relatively short time in which everything has come together.
424 N. Main, Burden, Kansas
Patrice Williamson, Store Manager
Residents of Eastern Cowley County
Food Pick-up, Shopping, & Donation Hours
Joseph’s is open Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. and on Saturday from 9:00 a.m. to Noon.
How to Help
They are always glad to receive financial donations, and appreciate the efforts of local schools, clubs, banks, and even the sheriff’s department in conducting food drives for the mission. Local churches are involved in the services, as well. Suggested donations include:
- Canned Fruit
- Canned Meat
- Pancake Mix
- Cornbread Mix
- Canned Tomatoes
- Hamburger Helper
- Dish Soap
- Bar Soap
- Toilet Paper
- Paper Towels
- Spaghetti Sauce
- Macaroni & Cheese
- Peanut Butter
- Ramen Noodles
More about Joseph’s Storehouse
Right on Main Street in Burden, Kan., Joseph’s Storehouse has been in operation for more than 25 years as a non-profit serving the communities of Eastern Cowley County. The store, which is the “outreach arm” of Sunflower Outreach Services, was established as a way to generate funds to support the services provided by the organization. Services include the Emergency Food Pantry, the School Supply Program, the Christmas Angel Program, and the Good Neighbor Fund which helps people with utility bills, rent and other needs. In addition, Joseph’s Storehouse serves as a distribution point for State Commodity Programs.
The model for Joseph’s Storehouse is quite unique, and it works very well. It is literally a hub where people can donate items, which are in turn sold in the store, and then those proceeds are used to serve the communities of Atlanta, Burden, Cambridge, Dexter, Grenola, and more.
Individuals and families in need can receive three double-bagged paper grocery bags filled with canned fruit, meats, Hamburger Helper, Tuna Helper, pancake mix, syrup, cornbread mix, pork & beans, and more. Milk cards redeemable at Braum’s in Winfield are also available, as well as frozen beef, and ground deer meat from “FEDD” or “Families Eating Donated Deer.” Each order contains about $50.00 worth of groceries.
Each December, Joseph’s Storehouse, in partnership with area churches, sponsors a Christmas Angel Program, inviting families needing help with Christmas gifts for their children to sign up at the store. In addition to gifts for their children, participating families receive all the food needed for a nice Christmas dinner including ham, potatoes, stuffing mix, and pies. This year, the deadline to sign up is November 26. Each school year, Joseph’s Storehouse provides hundreds of dollars in school supplies to Burden and Dexter schools. The supplies are distributed to those in need during enrollment.