Upshur County Food Bank finds help requests increasing
Sep 13, 2009 | 2467 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
The Upshur County Shares Food Bank needs support because of the growing number of applicants, Don Warden of Gilmer’s First Baptist Church told the Gilmer City Council Tuesday evening.

The nondenominational Food Bank is sponsored by the Upshur County Ministerial Fellowship. It is located at 210 W. Buffalo St. in Gilmer, and is open from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. weekly on Mondays and Wednesdays.

“There continues to be a growing need for food among the citizens of Upshur County that your food bank strives to meet,” Warden said in a written statement given to the council.

He said that many young workers found themselves unemployed or with their hours cut.

Warden said that they needed help not only finding people to help, but also to “find people who will help us.”

“Each week we see families and individuals forced to seek aid for the first time in their life.

“We are also seeing citizens of our community coming forth with generous donations.”

He said that Aug. 19 was a banner day, as the Methodist Church Clothes Closet gave $1,500.

“The ladies working in that organization not only give countless hours of service, but returned the bounty of their labor to the community,” Warden said. “ I would call that a double gift.”

He thanked the Methodist Church for the gift, as well as their volunteer help at the bank.

“Be assured that each penny will be wisely used,” Warden said.

He presented statistics for the food bank for the months of May, June and July:

• May, 87 family units, 232 total individuals served.

• June, 178 family units, 490 total individuals served.

• July, 214 family units, 604 total individuals served.

August showed an increase, as will September, he said.

“We urged all clients to come by the building on West Buffalo for pickup, but for those unable to get in, we are blessed with volunteers who deliver boxes to homes,” Warden said.

He said they are greatly helped by the East Texas Food Bank in Tyler.

“There are many ways citizens may support their food bank, with prayer being number one,” Warden said. “At present, we have a sufficient number of volunteers, but that can change rapidly.”

He invited the public to come by the Food Bank and take a tour.

“We can use food donations, but through the East Texas Food Bank, we can multiply each dollar given many times over.

He presented an example of cost savings through the Tyler-based food bank. It represents the cost of the box they were able to give clients the week of Aug. 20:

• Box of cereal

• Two self-heating complete meals for one

• Two 12.5-ounce cans of boned chicken

• One jar of peanut butter

• One can of sweet peas

• One can kidney beans

• One can refried beans

• One can apricots

• Two-pound bag of pinto beans

• One can sweet potatoes

• One can mixed vegetables

• One can sliced carrots

• Two-pound bag of rice

• Bread

• Large head of cabbage

• Two pounds of Irish potatoes

Because of volunteer labor and the help of the East Texas Food Bank, they are able to provide all this food for $5.70.

He said that monetary donations are tax deductible.

Gilmer City Manager Jeff Ellington told Warden that “I’m an auction nut.”

He told Warden that there is an auction house in Hawkins which sometimes has warehouse sales.

“I’ve seen people from other food pantries who bought a gob of stuff for not much money,” Ellington said.

He said they almost always had canned goods and dry goods for sale, as well as soap and detergent.

“You never know what’s it’s going to be,” he said. “You can get a bunch of stuff for not a whole lot of money.”

Ellington said later that cities are prohibited by state law from donating directly to organizations such as food banks.

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