As the summer months approach, food pantry organizations such as Care and Share struggle to meet the needs of Erie County families.
TheSanduskypostofficeisdoing its part by sponsoring a food drive May 12. The national program to boost donations during the typical donation drought of summer is in its 15th year, totaling 765.5 million pounds of donated food since its first year.
Organizers said the program had a strong response in the first few years, but has seen a decrease in recent years.
Karen Lee, a mail carrier, believes the decrease in donations might coincide with the inclement weatherduringthescheduledpickup times. To combat the problem, the post office, located at 2220 Caldwell St., will take food donations at the window during the week of May 7. Residents should feel free to drop off items, Lee said, if they don’t want to leave them by their mailboxes May12.
“We hope this helps Care and Share a lot this year,” Lee said. “Our first year was really high, but the last five years we’ve seen a drop. It’s a nice way to give back to our customers.”
Postcards with more details will be sent to residents in the upcoming week.
Recent factory closings and layoffs combined with the typically donation-dry summer months means more people are in need of support, Care and Share officials said.
Throughout the school year, many families have children involved in food programs at their schools. Once the summer months approach, children are at home for more meals. This poses an increase in the amount of food a family needs.
“Withthecurrenteconomicforecast, I don’t know what tomorrow’s needs could be,” said Dan Ward, president of the board of directors. “We are in a dry season, we need continued support.”
Ward wants the public to understand that he is grateful for donors’ graciousness during the holidays, but the summer months bring a drought to the donation intake and create less supply for the growing demand.
“We need a Christmas in June,” Ward half joked.
In the first nine months of this fiscal year, Care and Share has spent $63,358 on food. That evens out to about $7,039 a month and does not include the various donations and contributions from the community.
“I want to express gratitude to the community for their wonderful support,” Ward said. “The businesses, schools, churches, compassionate individuals and local foundations have supported us so graciously. I just want to give a great big thanks to the community.”
Last year alone, Care and Share provided food, clothing, furniture, appliances, linens and household goods to about 17,421 people.
The members of Care and Share will continue providing those in need in Erie County with as much as they can, but in order to do so, they say they need more help from the community.