Equipment grant helps Republic pantry
Donated produce, meats feed families this holiday season
For Alice and her family, People Helping People in Republic has been a lifesaver.
“There’s been times that my husband has been laid off or we’re short of income,” the 32-year-old shared. “Times are hard … but then there are resources like this.”
People Helping People, a member agency of Ozarks Food Harvest, started providing food and clothing to people in Republic almost 30 years ago. It joined The Food Bank’s network in 2009 so it could expand its assistance to better serve the community.
About 80 families visit People Helping People every month to receive fresh produce, dairy, meats and pantry staples. Alice said the pantry helps her worry less about having enough food for her kids, Hunter and Hannah.
“They know that we always find a way to get what we need, but they don’t know how bad things are,” she shared. “You’re working as hard as you can, and really try to do the best you can do, but when it comes down to it, when you need that little extra, there are places you can go and nobody judges you.”
People Helping People is run by a volunteer staff and board. Board co-chairman Kathy Kelly said many people who utilize their help are not making enough money to support their families, are out of work temporarily or are seniors that need a little more help than their fixed income can provide.
The front entrance of the small pantry is packed with donated clothes and shoes. Just to the left of the clothes is a large refrigerator full of fresh fruits and vegetables. In the back room, nonperishable food is stored on shelves up to the ceiling, and a of row and refrigerators and freezers line the back wall. The coolers were part of a grant Ozarks Food Harvest awarded the pantry.
Since adding the equipment, Kelly said they have been able to better serve the area families in need.
“They love this,” she said. “We’re able to give more meat than we used to.”
After receiving the refrigerators and freezers, People Helping People connected with a new Retail Pick-Up Program partner, Walmart in Clever. In the first six months of 2015, the pantry was able to receive 12,000 pounds of food through this Ozarks Food Harvest program. More than half of those donations were meats and produce.
Without the equipment provided by Ozarks Food Harvest, the pantry would have been forced to turn away the donation.
People Helping People shared in a grant report: “We are very appreciative to receive the grants for the much needed equipment. We are able to help so many more people.”
Board co-chairman Cindy Crabtree said that the pantry relies on its community for support. “Every time we have a need, someone steps up.”
Crabtree said one way the community helps is by providing Christmas presents for at-risk children.
“We make sure every child has a really good Christmas,” she said.
This year, 120 families will receive Christmas gifts and a box full of food. Crabtree said although people might think that the children would be more excited about the presents, she said that many children are more grateful for the food.
“A family was getting presents loaded into their car and a board member asked a little girl, ‘Do you like the presents?’ The girl said, ‘But do we get food?’ That was the first thing she asked,” Crabtree shared. “It just shows how big the need is.”
For Alice, People Helping People is more than a food pantry. It’s a support system she has come to reply on when times get tough.
“It’s a great organization and it helps a lot,” she said. “People have to depend on this because a lot of people are struggling. I don’t know what people would do without the pantry. Everybody is very grateful.”
Holiday 2015 Harvest Time