Friday, Dec 13, 2013
Sack Hunger: Marion
WSIL -- Here at News 3 we're trying to help needy families put food on the table.
We'll hold another Sack Hunger food drive this Friday in Marion, for the Wildcats game against Centralia. This week, we're collecting food for two Marion pantries-- the Ministerial Alliance and the Salvation Army. Both say the need is so great in their community, they're giving away food just as quickly as they can get it.
"What you see is what will last this whole month," said Amanda Harshman, pointing to the half-full shelves at the Salvation Army pantry.
Harshman has to figure out how to feed 350 families each month. It's a challenge she admits took her by surprise.
"I was one of those people that didn't really think that there was that much of a problem here with people needing food," she said.
The Salvation Army serves anyone in Williamson and Johnson Counties. Harshman aims to provide around five meals in each bag of food she distributes. But one of her primary sources of food, USDA commodities, is slowing down, so some months, meeting the demand is a struggle.
"We just have to like make it last. So you know, if we have to, put a little less in it," Harshman told News 3.
Further proof of the need in this community can be found just a few blocks away. About 400 people also come to the Marion Ministerial Alliance for food each month.
"We're here to help. We're here to help get folks through that hard time," said Executive Director J.R. Russell.
Russell estimates up to 15 percent of his patrons have never visited the pantry before. He points out many people don't realize how prevalent hunger is today.
"Most folks will not have to look very far to find somebody that's needed our services," he said, "And we've run into many clients now that used to be donors of ours in previous years."
Both pantries welcome all donations and could especially use cereal, boxed meals, and canned meats right now. Your donations Friday night will immediately touch many lives.
"We're talking about food. Our simple, most basic necessity," said Russell, "And like I say, no one should have to go without that in our day and age, in our country."
"They're so thankful. They always say thank you, and they're always surprised that we're giving them so much, because they say it really helps," Harshman remarked.
This week, since both pantries are from the same community they will split all the food collected Friday night and the $500 donation from Black Diamond Harley Davidson. Friday is also Marion's Claws for a Cause game in honor of breast cancer awareness, so please put on your pink, grab a sack of food, and come out and see us.
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