Our numbers are in for the 3rd quarter of 2014 and they are remarkable. From July 1st through September 30, our food pantry served 9512 households! Of those households, 6162 were households headed or occupied by at least one person over the age of 55. Of course, most of those 9512 households have more than one occupant, so the number of actual people receiving food is much higher than this number.
While we are privileged to be able to provide healthy food for so many, these numbers remind us that the need in our area is great. A 2012 study by Feeding America shows that Polk County’s rate of food insecurity was 16.7%, or 101,060 individuals. The implications of food insecurity for seniors are varied, ranging from the obvious health risks to the risk of mental illness, including depression.
Many of our volunteers have been on the receiving end of our ministry and are eager to give back to the ministry and to their community. And they don’t just ‘hand out food.’ They shop at the food bank for the food, load and unload the truck and trailer–which is no easy task, organize the food in the pantry, keep the pantry clean, set up the mobile sites, deliver food, maintain proper records related to food distribution, and much more. During the 3rd quarter, they selflessly gave nearly 1800 hours of their time to our food pantry ministry!
We are indebted to each one of our faithful volunteers, without whom we would not be able to serve the needs of seniors in our area.
If you would like more information on hunger in America, please visit www.FeedingAmerica.org.