Saturday, Dec 7, 2013
Sack Hunger: Pinckneyville at Du Quoin
PERRY COUNTY -- We'll be working to Sack Hunger again this Friday night, and we're calling on Du Quoin and Pinckneyville football fans to pitch in.
Our weekly food drive will take us to Perry County as the Indians host the Panthers. It's a big game between two rivals, and we're encouraging some friendly competition off the field as well. We want fans to bring a sack of food with them to the game tomorrow, for a pantry in either Du Quoin or Pinckneyville.
The food bank that collects the most will get some extra help in the form of a $500 donation from Black Diamond Harley Davidson. Contest aside, it's an opportunity to help a lot of people in Perry County.
"I want you guys to bring all that food you can. Bring it by the truckloads!" said George Culley of Least of the Brethren Ministries.
At Culley's Pinckneyville pantry, his passion for helping the community is readily apparent.
"We never turn no body, there's times we got down to one box," Culley told News 3.
About 900 people a month now come through his doors. Least of the Brethren accepts patrons from eight area counties. Culley relies on the St. Louis Area Food Bank and local businesses to provide most of his supplies.
"We're just glad to get anything," he said, "We put water, they're tickled to death to get water. You're hungry, you're hungry, you know? And the little kids don't understand. The children don't understand and it's tough."
It's tough in Du Quoin as well where 550 people now visit the pantry here at the Western Egyptian Economic Opportunity Council each month. That's six times as many as two years ago.
"The reason we don't let them come more than once is that we just don't have enough food. Otherwise we would," explained Perry County Outreach Coordinator Cindy Lemmons.
Perry County has the fourth highest unemployment in the state. The jobless rate was 12.7 percent in July. Data from Feeding America shows 14 percent of Perry County residents don't know where their next meal will come from; Cindy Lemmons sees their faces every day.
"A lot of businesses, a lot of factories have closed down," she said, "So people who before maybe didn't even receive food stamps are having to come to the food pantry."
So whether you root for the Panthers or the Indians, please bring a sack of food with you to Friday's game. These pantries want your help...
"No matter what it is, its very important to the people who utilize the pantry," said Lemmons.
And they want to win!
"I'd like to beat that old food pantry, too!" said Culley.
Wind: 7 MPH
Humidity: 73 %
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