The Salvation Army’s Olathe Food Pantry is facing empty shelves this summer.
A rising number of patrons needing the service and a record low volume of donations recently have created a food shortage for the pantry in the past few months.
A couple weeks ago, supplies were so depleted organizers had to dip into funds to buy more food.
“This is the lowest I’ve ever seen it,” said Major Mark Martsolf, who leads the Salvation Army’s Olathe Corps. “What we purchased will be gone soon.”
Four years ago, the Olathe pantry served an average of six families a week. But now it’s serving an average of 15 families each week. Over the course of last year, 831 people visited the pantry. In 2013, there were 668 visitors, a 24 percent increase in a year.
The drop in donations to the pantry is characteristic during the summer, since most people tend to donate during the holidays. But donations this summer were unusually sparse.
“School is starting and summer is ending, so many people are understandably busy and they might not think about donating,” Martsolf said. “It’s just important to remind people that donations are needed year round, especially when the holidays are over.”
The pantry’s needs include peanut butter and jelly, macaroni and cheese, soups, canned tuna, and canned fruit.
“We’re looking for foods that will help families stretch their food budget,” Martsolf said.
Donations to the Olathe Food Pantry may be brought to the Salvation Army Olathe Corps location at 420 E. Santa Fe, weekdays between 8:30 a.m. and 5 p.m.
The Olathe Food Pantry is open every Monday and Tuesday from 9 to 11 a.m. and 1 to 3 p.m., as well as Thursdays from 1 to 3 p.m. and Fridays from 9 to 11 a.m.
“Whether you give one can or a whole bag of groceries, any donation is great,” Martsolf said. “This community has always been wonderfully supportive of the Salvation Army and we are very appreciative of it.”
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