The Fern Creek Highview United Ministries food pantry serves an average of 600 families monthly.
“Actually, this month we saw 350 families in just one week,” said the ministry’s director Renee Bryant.
Bryant said the increased demand for assistance is putting the pantry in a pinch.
“It’s kind of scary at times because earlier this week we had absolutely no green beans. That’s unheard of food banks always have green beans. That’s usually the one food item we never run out,” said Bryant.
Starting in May, Kentuckians lost $50 million a month of Supplemental Nutritional Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits.
Bryant said the peak in the number of families in need followed the loss of benefits. “It probably took a couple weeks for it really to sink in that these benefits are not going to be there,” she noted.
Other financial stressors are adding to the problem as well. “As far as our gas prices going up significantly, the prices of food you started noticing how much that was going up. It’s also time for back-to-school, so that’s an additional strain on the budget as well,” said Bryant.
The pantry provides families with about $100 worth of food monthly.
Bryant put out a plea to the community, donors and partners to keep the pantry afloat so it can continue to help those who need it most. “The last thing people want to do is ask for help. Many of the families that we have coming in, we see a lot of senior citizens, we see a lot of single parents that basically they are just they’re struggling in normal times, and then you add these extraordinary expenses and that just puts a strain on the budget,” said Bryant.
Those interested in helping can make direct donations or purchase items from the ministry’s Amazon wishlist.
“It makes a difference in what we can do within our community because it really takes all of us working together to make that happen,” said Bryant.
Setting up a food drive is another option for those who want to help but cannot afford to donate is another idea Bryant has considered.
Gov. Andy Beshear encourages those in need of assistance to visit kynect.ky.gov. The site provides information about food banks and additional resources.