Challenges Arise With Murphysboro Food Drive

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By Evie Allen

MURPHYSBORO -- The Murphybsoro Food Pantry hosted a mini food giveaway Thursday morning. But things did not go quite as expected.

People who had been anxiously awaiting the event were disappointed at the way the handout was handled.

In a sea of cars, hundreds waited patiently in the heat for a semi carrying free food.

"We're late getting started which we had hoped it wouldn't be this way," says pantry president Jane Williams.
         
The Saint Louis Area Food Bank, which delivers the food, ran into some hiccups along the way.
 
"It's a little frustrating for them I'm sure. They're hot, some of them have no sitters so they''ve got kids in the cars and we hate it. Usually it goes a little smoother," says Williams.
 
Williams says everyone struggled with the heat, even the volunteers. Free water was passed out while they waited.
 
"Five hours some of these people have been here, in the blistering heat, not knowing what they're going to get. They wouldn't do it if they didn't need that food desperately," says Bethany Prange with the St. Louis Area Foodbank. 
 
Elkville resident Donna Dailey says it's worth the wait.
 
"We've made the time useful with conversating with other people," she says.
 
Dailey and her daughter feed 15 to 20 area kids a day so they're thankful to get what they can.
 
"They don't have any programs in Elkville or special afternoon meals or anything," says Dailey.
 
When the truck finally arrived volunteers from the high school volleyball team, key club and 4-H began loading the bags. There was fruit, sandwiches, drinks, barbeque sauce and vegetables.
But organizers noticed another problem.
 
"We sat out here for five hours and only one family in this whole four-people truck can get food? That's crazy," said one woman.
 
There wasn't enough food. So they could only pass out one portion per car not per family. And Williams says the food they got may only last two days.
 
"Even as hot as they are and as frustrated as they are, the people, they don't ever hesitate to tell us how grateful they are for whatever," says Williams.
 
Not everyone was able to get food at Thursday's giveaway. Organizers say there's always a need and encourage the public to give to their local food pantry.
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