Pantries prepare for winter woes

LORAIN COUNTY The season of giving has ended, but local food pantries are still in need. Secon
Sandusky Register Staff
May 24, 2010

LORAIN COUNTY

The season of giving has ended, but local food pantries are still in need.  Second Harvest in Lorain is one of 12 food warehouses in the state providing food to local pantries.

Run solely on local and national donations, Second Harvest supplies more than 33,000 men, women and children in Erie, Huron, Lorain and Crawford counties. Executive director Juliana Chase-Morefield said those at the warehouse are moving shipments out every day, but December's numbers were off the charts.

"Distribution in December was high," she said. "As of today, we've given out 462,827 pounds of food. We average 280,000 a month."

Chase-Morefield said a variety of factors cause a dramatic increase of patrons during the winter, when the pantry serves more than 3,500 people per month in Erie County alone.

"I honestly think it's a variety of different factors," she said. "Unemployment, loss of factory jobs over the past few years ... There's an upswing in the winter months because of winter utility bills. Those struggling are struggling even more when they have to add on a $300 utility bill. Even food prices are higher. There's not any one thing that's impacting more than the other."

Not having enough food to supply clients is always a concern, Chase-Morefield said.

"We're always a little afraid when we go into January, February and March because they are our lowest donation months," she said. "But there's a need, and we'll continue to look for ways to fill it."

Care and Share, one of Second Harvest's recipients, was in a crisis situation before Christmas, director Dan Ward said.

"We were overrun with people," he said. "We had to turn people away because there were too many to serve."

The community responded to the crisis, however.

"Through the generosity of schools and their food drives, local businesses and community members, we made it through," he said. "We're certainly blessed. Caring and compassionate people have helped us go into the next year with a great start."

Victory Kitchen workers have noticed an elevated amount of need as well, but are relying on their faith to pull through.

"We served over 300 plates of food at our Christmas meal," said kitchen foreman Bruce Connor. "The number of donations are down from what they were around the holidays. It's going to get worse with the trouble in the auto industry, everything closing down, but we're people of faith. We believe God's going to help us provide to the people in need."

Connor said January through March will be rough, but he wants the community to know the overwhelming support through the holidays is appreciated.

"We operate with no government help at all," he said. "Just being able to provide to people who walk in here is a miracle. People in this community are what keeps us going. Everyone is working together for the best."

Average number of people served quarterly by Second Harvest Food Pantry:

Crawford County:

Food Pantries: 7

July-Sept. 2006: 1,858

Oct-Dec. 2006: 1,841

Jan-March 2007: 1,520

April-June 2007: 1,668

July-Sept. 2007: 2,645

Erie County:

Food Pantries: 9

July-Sept. 2006: 2,191

Oct-Dec. 2006: 4,393

Jan-March 2007: 2,712

April-June 2007: 2,980

July-Sept. 2007: 3,529

Huron County:

Food Pantries: 13

July-Sept. 2006: 4,018

Oct-Dec. 2006: 4,024

Jan-March 2007: 3,322

April-June 2007: 4,554

July-Sept. 2007: 5,753

Lorain County:

Food Pantries: 47

July-Sept. 2006: 14,945

Oct-Dec. 2006: 22,650

Jan-March 2007: 18,991

April-June 2007: 17,690

July-Sept. 2007: 20,339

Total:

Food Pantries: 76

July-Sept. 2006: 23,012

Oct-Dec. 2006: 32,908

Jan-March 2007: 26,545

April-June 2007: 26,892

July-Sept. 2007: 32,266

   

Increase from 2006-07:

Crawford

July-September 2006: 1,858

July-September 2007: 2,645

Difference: 787

Increase: 42%

Erie

July-September 2006: 2,191

July-September 2007: 3,529

Difference: 1,338

Increase: 61%

Huron

July-September 2006: 4,018

July-September 2007: 5,753

Difference: 1,735

Increase: 43%

Lorain

July-September 2006: 14,945

July-September 2007: 20,339

Difference: 5,394

Increase: 36%

Total

July-September 2006: 23,012

July-September 2007: 32,266

Difference: 9,254

Increase: 40%